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July 29, 2010

DC GOP demands mythical "Republican seat" on Board of Elections

We received the following news release this morning from Paul Craney of the D.C. Republican Party:

*Press Release*
For Immediate Release

July 29, 2010

Contact: Paul D. Craney
Mobile: (202) 550-1450
Email: **

*Councilmembers Duck Vote on Mital & Get Ducks**
**GOP Council Candidates & Gandhi Hand Deliver Ducks to CMs Today*

*Washington, DC:* Council candidates Marc Morgan (R-Ward 1), Dave Hedgepeth (R-Ward 3), Tim Day (R-Ward 5) & Jim DeMartino (R-Ward 6) hand delivered toy ducks to their opponents to symbolize the DC Council avoiding a vote on Mital Gandhi to the DC Board of Elections and Ethics. The Council is scheduled to vote on Mr. Togo West at 3:30pm today.

*"The law is very clear. Our Councilmembers have a responsibility to fill the Republican seat on the Board. Councilmember Cheh needs to lead her colleagues now," *stated Dave Hedgepeth, candidate for Ward 3 DC Council.

*"It would be nice to see Councilmember Wells have the same passion for obeying the spirit of the law and vote for Mital Gandhi as he does with imposing plastic bag fees," *stated Jim DeMartino, candidate for Ward 6 DC Council.

*"Councilmember Harry Thomas Sr was able to obey the spirit of the law, why can't Tommy Jr,"* stated Tim Day, candidate for Ward 5 DC Council. **

*"We hope toy ducks will catch Councilmember Graham's attention long enough for him to do the right thing and vote for Mital to ensure there is accountability on the Board,"* stated Marc Morgan, candidate for Ward 1 DC Council.

I replied as follows:


Thank you for the press release concerning the filling of vacancies on the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics. You refer to "the Republican seat on the Board." According to a website titled Just Means:

"The District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics is established under §3 of the District of Columbia Election Act, approved August 12, 1955 (69 Stat. 699; DC Code §1-1001.01 et seq.). The District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics is vested with authority to administer and enforce the provisions of the District of Columbia Election Act, as amended, and the District of Columbia Campaign Finance Reform and Conflict of Interest Act, approved August 14, 1974 (88 Stat. 446; as codified in DC Code §1-1101.01 et seq. (1981).

"The Board is composed of three members, no more than two of whom shall be members of the same political party, who are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council of the District of Columbia. The Mayor designates, from time to time, the Chairperson of the Board."

This comports with my understanding of the rules for DCBOEE. There thus appears to be no requirement that a Republican be appointed to the Board. The third Board member could be a Statehood-Green Party member or an independent. If you think I am mistaken on this, please show me the evidence. I would agree that the delay in filling the third position is a matter of concern, but that is a separate issue.


Rick Rosendall
Vice President for Political Affairs
Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance

(Copying Councilmembers Cheh, Wells, Thomas and Graham, referenced in DCGOP press release)

Of course, if Mr. Craney wants to substitute silly stunts for knowing the facts, that's his choice. I don't see how it will build his party in the District. Seven years ago, there were two Republican members on the D.C. Council, both well-respected reformers. One of them (David Catania) was essentially driven out, and the other (Carol Schwartz) was defeated by a primary challenger (Patrick Mara) who then lost in the general election to Democrat-turned-Independent Michael Brown. Thus have they emulated the national party in driving people out rather than drawing them in. Interesting choice.


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The GOP is not alone in such a silly interpretation. People still often refer to the "Democratic" At-Large seats on the DC Council, asserting two are reserved for them. Of course, having a (D) after one's name almost -- but not always -- guarantees election in DC, sort of like having (ANC) does in most of South Africa. But it's still not a reserved seat.

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