I would like to set the record straight: I am not against students voting. I am against residents of other states voting in our D.C. elections (Loose Lips, 4/10).
The D.C. Board of Elections allowed close to 1,000 people to vote in the November 1996 election who 1) showed an out-of-state driver’s license, 2) listed a permanent address outside of the District of Columbia, and 3) were told by the head of the voter registration drive, “You don’t have to be a resident of D.C. to vote in D.C.”
Our residency laws should be enforced. Who is going to elect our next mayor? Prince George’s County, Md., is known as Ward 9 of D.C. because it is believed that so many residents of P.G. County vote in D.C. One candidate for political office is said to be campaigning in P.G. County. Ted Gay, a respected political consultant, told me, “If I had a dollar for every illegal voter in the District, I would be a wealthy man.”
If you look at our voter rolls, it tells the story. Even though the District has more people who just “live” here but are not residents (the president, congressmen, and some university students), the District has 10% more of its population registered to vote than Arlington and Alexandria Counties: Alexandria: 117,600 residents, 65,367 registered voters (55.8 percent); Arlington: 186,400 residents, 104,045 registered voters (55.8 percent); D.C.: 528,000 residents, 340,301 registered voters (64.5 percent).
Either D.C. residents are more socially conscious than Virginia’s residents, or the District’s voter rolls are overinflated by as much as 34,000 voters. Didn’t Marion Barry beat John Ray by 16,000 votes?
After speaking with registrars in other jurisdictions, the problem with our voter rolls seems to stem from:
1) A deficient voter registration card: The voter registration card requires you to attest that you “live” in the District. Unlike in Maryland and Virginia, it does not require you to attest that you are a “resident” of the District. Of course, the president lives in D.C., but he is not a resident. Our D.C. Code does not define “live,” but it does define “resident.” A voter registration card that does not conform to our D.C. Code promotes fraud.
2) A “no-questions-asked” policy by the Board of Elections: As long as the voter registration card is filled inall i’s dotted and all t’s crossedthe D.C. Board of Elections will put your name on the voter rolls. For example, Karen Herbert, a resident of Maryland and former head of the D.C. Taxicab Commission, was successfully challenged and removed from the D.C. voter rolls. But Herbert kept re-registering to vote in the District, and the District kept putting her back on the rollsno questions asked. The Board of Elections has allowed people to register out of P.O. boxesno questions asked. The Board of Elections has allowed people to register out of firehouses (a place of work)no questions asked. The Board of Elections has allowed people to vote out of closed dormitoriesno questions asked.
If D.C. residents are going to elect our next mayor, we only have a few months to clean up the voter rolls.