- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 14, 2002

The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics has certainly been busy this summer. Not only does the board have to contend with the usual tasks that accompany a mayoral election year, but it also had to attend to redistricting changes, criminal allegations of campaign fraud and the civil appeal of Mayor Anthony Williams' petition scandal. Now, there seem to be two additional problems with which the board might have to contend.
In September, voters will begin using new ballots and voting machines, but the majority of the District's voting-age population (457,000) let alone its registered voters (351,000) have seen no demonstration of the new system. Also, the machines automatically reject mistakes and over-voted and mutilated ballots. Because the board failed to educate most voter-age residents, expect confusion on primary day.
The deadline for registering to vote in the Sept. 10 primaries was Monday, Aug. 12. Yet, for many registered voters, their election guide didn't arrive until Monday. And worse, in that guide the voter was informed that any voter who changed his name, moved or had planned to switch parties had to have those changes mailed and postmarked by Monday, Aug. 12 the same day the guide came in the mail. "If the information is wrong and you do not send in changes now," the board admonishes registered voters in its 2002 Election Guide, "you may not be able to vote on Election Day."
Such incompetence rivals the signature-gathering effort of the Williams campaign. We can only imagine the confusion at the polls on election day, when thousands of voters will be informed that they are not registered, while the remaining voters and poll workers will face the challenge of a race with two popular write-in candidates.


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