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Taking note . . .
public affairs in the nationís capital
by the editor of The Common Denominator
IGNORING NOV. 2: Most local news media organizations and Democratic Party activists are again taking the District’s electorate for granted by treating the Sept. 14 primary election, which officially nominates political candidates, as the fait accompli. These same folks, no doubt, will be bleating the day after the Nov. 2 general election about low voter turnout, while failing to recognize their own culpability for making the real election seem meaningless to most D.C. voters.
One message that should be clear from the electorate’s overwhelming vote to oust three incumbent D.C. City Council members: Residents are growing increasingly restless with a political establishment that continually promises change but delivers little.
Another message that should be clear from a quick examination of ward vote totals in the Democratic at-large council race: The majority of voters in Wards 2 and 3 are clearly out of step politically with the majority of voters in the city’s other six wards. Exploring the reasons behind this marked difference might be good fodder for the local Democratic Party, which also saw many of its top leaders ousted from their posts in the Sept. 14 primary.
NOTHING TO WATCH: D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics Executive Director Alice Miller told The Common Denominator she cannot explain why some duly credentialed poll watchers for candidates on the Sept. 14 primary ballot were shut out of overseeing the election night count.
Among those left watching monitors, without sound, in the lobby of the election board’s building after the polls closed were poll watchers for incumbent Republican At-Large Councilwoman Carol Schwartz and successful Democratic at-large council challenger Kwame Brown. Both said they were told by building security guards that they could not proceed to the Board of Elections and Ethics’ second-floor offices, despite wearing badges issued by the board that should have allowed them to do so. They left the building in frustration after several hours of watching monitors that showed the vote count was proceeding without them.
Several citizens and news media representatives who remained in the lobby, awaiting the release of vote totals, acknowledged that it was nearly impossible to figure out what election workers were doing by watching the closed-circuit television monitors.
Copyright 2004, The Common Denominator