DC Council at-large election tomorrow
Update: For anyone trying to fill out a same-day registration, your best bet is a driver’s license, bank statement, or tuition, phone, utility, or other bill in your name with a DC address on it. However, an official at the DC Board of Elections and Ethics has indicated that it would probably be sufficient to get a letter from University Housing saying that you live on campus. Housing provides these letters within twenty-four hours of a request. You can call them 9am to 5pm at (202) 687-4560 for details. Otherwise, you’ll have to cast a provisional ballot and provide this information at a later date.
Tomorrow, voters will elect a candidate to fill a vacancy in the DC Council’s at-large seat. Given that the current Council has passed measures such as the contentious noise law, their decision will shape student life for the next year until the 2012 General Election.
“At this moment, we’re seeing so much anti-student rhetoric and so many anti-student actions going on in this city,” student ANC Commissioner Jake Sticka (COL ’13) told the Voice in March as DC Students Speak’s first voter registration drive was winding down. The organization is trying to get students to vote in tomorrow’s election in order to curb what they see as a disturbing trend.
After an exhausting, months-long process of candidate forums and questionnaires, where even the the DC Food Truck Association saw fit to publish a candidate questionnaire, the race has narrowed down to four main contenders.
Bryan Weaver, the Voice editorial board’s choice in the race, has also been endorsed by Washington City Paper, DC Federation of College Democrats, and urbanist blog Greater Greater Washington. His platform includes a more progressive DC tax code, a decrease in ten-year tax abatements, and more support for transit and smart growth.
Sekou Biddle, the DC executive director of the Jumpstart literacy program, was appointed by the local Democratic Party to fill the vacant seat until tomorrow’s election. The DC Sierra Club, the local Stonewall Democrats affiliate, Howard Dean’s Democracy for America, SEIU, UNITE HERE, Mayor Vincent Gray, and eight of the twelve other current councilmembers subsequently expressed their support. Biddle has similar credentials to Weaver, although he also supports the DC Opportunity Scholars voucher program.
Meanwhile, the coalition behind current frontrunner Vincent Orange includes a strange marriage of cross-town interests. On the one hand, Orange has successfully courted the majority of the unions, including AFSCME Local 20, the Washington Teacher’s Union, and the local AFL-CIO. At the same time, many Georgetown denizens, from Ed Solomon to the Georgetowner newspaper, have thrown their weight behind the former councilman. In exchange, Orange has promised stiff opposition to Georgetown’s 2010 Campus Plan and abstinence from any tax hikes on wealthy residents. His platform is located here.
Patrick Mara, the only Republican in the race, has the support of the DC Republican Party (naturally), the Fraternal Order of Police, the Washington Examiner, and the Washington Post. Mara hopes to balance the budget and clean up what he calls “the culture of machine politics” that dominates the dealings inside Wilson Building.
If you live in West Georgetown or Burleith, the place to vote is the Duke Ellington School for the Arts. If you’re already registered, it’s as simple as bringing your passport or other ID. Consult the voter guide for information about the candidates, pollings places, eligibility, and same-day voter registration. If you are eligible and someone challenges your right to vote, call the DC Board of Elections and Ethics at 202-727-2194.