- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 7, 2004

Last Tuesday, three College of William & Mary students who want to run for the City Council in Williamsburg lost their bid in federal court to win the right to register to vote in the college town.

U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson refused to order Williamsburg’s registrar to let the students register to vote immediately. He said that if the case were to go trial, he did not think the students would be able to prove that they have a right to register to vote in Williamsburg.

After they were turned down by the District Court judge in Norfolk, Travis Luther Lowe , 21, and Serene Alami, 21, rushed back to Williamsburg and filed petitions for appeal of denial of their voter registration minutes before the local circuit court closed.

“We live [in Williamsburg] most of the time,” Mr. Lowe, a junior, said after the federal court hearing. “I don’t know where I’m supposed to vote if I’m not voting there.”

And on Friday, a Circuit Court judge ruled in favor of one of them.

Circuit Judge Samuel T. Powell ruled in favor of Mr. Lowe, whose family lives in Arkansas. But Judge Powell ruled that Miss Alami should register in Roanoke.

The third student, Seth Saunders, had missed the 10-day limit to appeal to the circuit court after his registration was denied.

Mr. Saunders, 19, whose father lives in Hanover County, said he was frustrated by Judge Jackson’s decision but that he planned to try to run for the council in the next election, in two years.

“My voice will not be silenced by this,” the sophomore said.

The Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed lawsuits on behalf of the students.

Robert McFarland, an attorney for the Williamsburg registrar, argued Tuesday that the registrar followed guidelines by the State Board of Elections in making decisions about voter registration based on factors such as where students register their cars and how long they plan to live in Williamsburg.

“What is being denied to the plaintiffs is one of the most fundamental, basic constitutional rights,” ACLU of Virginia legal director Rebecca K. Glenberg told the judge during the hearing.

Judge Jackson responded that the right to vote indeed is a basic right but added, “What’s at stake, really, is their desire to be candidates.”

Mr. Lowe, Miss Alami, Mr. Saunders and a fourth student, Robert Ryan-Chin Forrest, announced their campaigns this winter after city officials started a rental-home inspection program and began enforcing other rental-home occupancy rules viewed by students as interfering with off-campus living arrangements.

mHail to the Redskin

Thirty-five years after he last wore a helmet and shoulder pads, Sam Huff learned in the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates that he still can bring a crowd to its feet and get mobbed for his autograph.

The General Assembly honored Mr. Huff last Tuesday for a 14-season career with the New York Giants and Washington Redskins during which he was among football’s most feared linebackers.

He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982.

He has been part of the Redskins radio broadcast team for 30 years.

Now a thoroughbred breeder in Middleburg, Va., the West Virginia native was honored in the Senate with a commending resolution sponsored by Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr., Winchester Republican and a professional sports promoter.

mParris flap

Two members of the Frostburg, Md., City Council want to rename an outdoor recreational complex that honors former Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

Councilman Tom Reed said he’s been approached by residents who don’t think the 50-acre site should be named after “someone who didn’t represent most of the people in this part of Maryland, someone who is antigun and antisportsman.” Mr. Reed didn’t offer an alternate name for the site.

Councilman John Ralston suggested that it be called simply the City of Frostburg Recreational Complex.

“I just think the city is a better role model for the complex to be named after,” he said last week.

The athletic fields near Frost Elementary School were named for Mr. Glendening, a Democrat, in 2001 after he channeled $870,000 in state funds toward an expansion of the complex.

Mayor James Cotton said he opposes changing the name. “It’s just not a very classy thing to do, and it wouldn’t be good for Frostburg,” he said.

The expansion was funded while John Bambacus, a friend of Mr. Glendening’s, was the city’s mayor.

mAllen heads south

Virginia Sen. George Allen will be the keynote speaker at the South Carolina Republican Party’s annual Silver Elephant fund-raiser March 26.

Mr. Allen, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000, is head of the Republican Senatorial Committee.

A crowded Republican field is seeking the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Democrat Ernest F. Hollings.

Mr. Allen’s appearance “speaks volumes” of the Republicans’ commitment to winning the Senate seat, said state Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson.

South Carolina has a “good, intrasquad scrimmage” for the seat, Mr. Allen said.

“There are many strong candidates,” Mr. Allen said in a phone interview on Friday. “South Carolina should be a very good state for us.”

This year’s dinner is dedicated to Ronald Reagan, and Mr. Allen said he plans to speak about the former president. “He inspired me to get into organized politics,” he said.

The first Silver Elephant fund-raiser was held in 1967 in Columbia, Md., with Mr. Reagan serving as the speaker. The cost to be a Silver Elephant member was $120 then and remains $120 now.

The dinner draws about 2,000 people.

Former speakers include then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush, U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts of Oklahoma and former Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III.

• This column is based in part on wire service reports.

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