On the ground in D.C., Maryland and Virginia

What happens next in ANC races with no candidate on the ballot

November 4, 2010 - 04:41 PM
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The results of this year's most interesting Advisory Neighborhood Commission races have already been ably rounded up elsewhere, but what about the least interesting ones?

Out of 299 single member districts, 31 ANC commissioner spots up for grabs on Tuesday's ballot had no official candidate. So what happens when that's the case? Are residents in those neighborhoods doomed to go unrepresented on their commissions for the next two years? We put the question to D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics spokeswoman Alysoun McLaughlin, who explains that it could be weeks before some ANCs have an official answer.

The first thing that will happen is that on Monday, Nov. 8, the BOEE will release the names and preliminary numbers of the top write-in vote getters in those contests where the highest number of votes is attributed to write-ins. In most cases, the BOEE will release just one name, the person who received the most write-ins, but in some cases, McLaughlin says, there may be a tie, in which case both names will be released.

Then by close of business on Tuesday, Nov. 9, the BOEE will stop accepting the forms necessary to affirm write-in candidacies. The elections board won't declare a write-in candidate a winner unless they file the form.

"We need to know that you are willing to take the job," McLaughlin says.

If a top write-in winner doesn't file an affirmation by Tuesday, then no winner will be declared: the elections board doesn't then go down the list to see who got the second or third most write-in votes and ask them if they'd be willing to serve.

The next steps will take a bit longer, as the BOEE has now decided not to count any provisional or special ballots cast until Saturday, Nov. 20, in order to comply with the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act. The board had originally thought it would be able to start counting special ballots this Saturday, but has since determined that due to the small number of military absentee ballots it expects to receive, it will wait to count all special ballots at the same time. The MOVE Act gives military absentee voters until Nov. 19 to get their ballots in, and McLaughlin says the board was concerned that voter privacy could become an issue in certain precincts if they counted the military ballots last. For instance, if there was only one military ballot in a particular precinct added to the official results at a later date, neighbors might be able to identify who that voter was and which way they voted.

So, that means that certified results won't be available now until Nov. 22 or 23 at the earliest, which for write-in candidates in single member districts where very few write-in votes were cast, means there's "no guarantee that whoever comes out ahead on Monday is necessarily the winner," McLaughlin says. And for those ANCs where no winner is ever declared? Well, the BOEE doesn't run special elections for ANC seats, so it's up to each commission to decide how and whether to fill any vacant seats.


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