Fenty Loses Bid to Recruit Extra Voters

Photo by RJSmith
D.C. Council Chair Vincent Gray and Mayor Adrian Fenty debate
D.C. Council Chair Vincent Gray and Mayor Adrian Fenty debate
Mayor Adrian Fenty lost a bid to open up the Democratic primary to 70,000+ unaffiliated voters on the city's voter registration rolls in an appeal to the Board of Elections and Ethics. BOEE Chairman Togo West was credited with running a substantive, productive decision-
Togo West (Photo by: RJSmith) Togo West
making process on the Mayor's proposal, which pushed for the broadest possible interpretation of new laws that allow same-day voter registration among other significant and untested changes.

The new laws could have a decisive effect on the neck-and-neck race between Fenty and D.C. Council Chair Vincent Gray. The Mayor's summer jobs program has put tens of thousands of youth on the city's payroll. Some have suggested that they could be a significant pool of voters in the Mayoral contest with same-day registration allowed for the first time.

D.C. Council Chair Vincent Gray's supporters and other opponents of allowing unaffiliated voters to vote in the Democratic primary said independent voters have never been able to vote in the primary. The effort, they said, is a desperate attempt to find new votes less than three weeks before election day.

Gray, on the other hand, said, "I'm willing to take my chances on the electorate that already exists."

He and Fenty debated as 1000 people packed the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue downtown for a debate that offered more of the same contrasts between the two candidates, as well as intermittent jeering and cheering directed at both candidates, with controversial Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee a frequent issue.

With the race too close to call and many debates and forums still to go, some observers were able to find humor amid the tension. "Gray finally answered the most pressing question of the campaign season last night... How are you going to attract more Israeli businesses to D.C.?" according to City Paper's Loose Lips.  "Also, if what attracts LL's Jewish editor is any guide, try establishing a supply of government-subsidized pickled herring." Also discussed were Michelle Rhee, making the city more environmentally friendly, and increasing the city's living wage.

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The DC Board of Elections & Ethics did its job according to the law in denying the petition by the fenty green team, to include independent voters in the democratic primary. If he really was motivated by being inclusionary, why has that not been a "motto" in this administration over the past four years? Whether it be the decision at the hardy school regarding the removal of a parent/student supported principal, the removal of a parent/student supported biology teacher at wilson or the $82 million dollars in illegal contracts to his frat brothers, this administration could not be further from reality except when they see that the democratic voters in wards 4,5,7 and 8 will deliver a knockout punch (60 to 80% of votes to gray) to this corrupt fenty green team. Also, please note that the majority of summer youth workers (75%) are under the age of 18, and will not be able to vote in the primary