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Elections board asks for change in law

(Published February 8, 1999)

The D. C. Board of Elections and Ethics recently asked Councilwoman Kathy Patterson, D-Ward 3, chair of the Government Operations Committee, to introduce amendments to the D.C. Election Code to remove the requirement that petition circulators be D.C. registered voters. The amendments would bring D.C. law into compliance with a recently issued U.S. Supreme Court decision involving conditions placed on petition circulation requirements, said board chairman Benjamin F. Wilson.

In Buckley v. American Constitutional Law Foundation, a case that originated in Colorado, the court declared it unconstitutional to require initiative petition circulators to be registered voters. The court stated that the registration requirement impermissibly reduced the number of potential petition circulators.

Currently D.C. law requires circulators of initiative, referendum, nominating and recall petitions to be registered voters in the District. Wilson requested that the registration requirement be replaced with the condition that all petition circulators be D.C. residents 18 or older.

Copyright 1999, The Common Denominator