D.C. Council member Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 7) will remain on the April 3 primary ballot, surviving a scare after a resident challenged the validity of her nominating petitions.
In an 11-page ruling, the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics found that 428 of the 1,384 petition signatures Alexander submitted were invalid, but that she had more than met the 250-signature minimum to be on the ballot. The board found “a lack of substantial evidence” to corroborate challenger Dawn Matthews’s claims that Alexander campaign aides illicitly signed and submitted petitions that they had not personally circulated.
The board’s ruling says that in previous instances where petitions were disqualified en masse — during Mayor Anthony A. Williams’s 2002 reelection campaign and a 2004 effort to authorize a Ward 5 slots parlor via ballot initiative — “there was substantial evidence of wrongdoing that warranted grave concern” about the legitimacy of the petitions.
“That is not the case here,” the board wrote.
Matthews, the board held, did not establish a pattern of fraud, nor did the challenged successfully rebut sworn testimony from Alexander’s aides that they in fact personally witnessed the signatures they attested to.
The board, however, described Alexander’s signature collection effort as “sloppy” and criticized campaign aide Derek Ford for an “inability ... to explain several deficiencies” related to the process, including an “apparent preference of quantity over quality” in gathering signatures.