Defense attorney and unsuccessful at-large D.C. Council candidate Paul Zukerberg is best known for his activism on behalf the District’s pot smokers, but he could soon be pressing a less crunchy issue in court. Zukerberg filed suit against the D.C. Council and the Board of Elections today over delaying the District’s attorney general election, a day before the Council is set to hold a second vote on legislation that would move the election from 2014 to 2018.
In his complaint, Zukerberg accuses the defendants of creating a chilling effect to keep away candidates. “We need to put the kibosh on this right away if we’re going to have a fair election on April 1,” he tells LL.
Zukerberg is just the most colorful opponent of moving the election from 2014 to 2018. Several councilmembers, including chairman Phil Mendelson,have come out against the delay. Groups like DC Appleseed and the League of Women Voters have issued statements opposing the legislation.
Zukerberg’s lawsuit asks D.C. Superior Court to prevent the Board of Elections from removing the attorney general from the 2014 ballot. It would also stop the Council from reducing the attorney general’s powers from what they were when voters overwhelmingly passed a referendum to make the position elected in 2010, blocking attempts to move the general counsels for District agencies out of the office.Ward 2 councilmember and mayoral hopeful Jack Evans, who’s been pushing for a delay on the election, doubts that Zukerberg will be able to prevent the delay. “Lawsuits take a long time, so the opportunity for that to have an effect is probably pretty small,” Evans says.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery