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Error Keeps Army Officer From Voting For His Dad

By Nikita Stewart and Bill Turque
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, November 6, 2008

Even when the voting is over, some of the frustration never ends.

Problems with absentee ballots hit home for Republican Nelson F. Rimensnyder, who ran for shadow senator.

Rimensnyder knew he could count on at least one vote Tuesday: of his son James, a captain in the Army who is at a base in Germany for two weeks before heading to Iraq.

James Rimensnyder had applied to vote absentee by mail. But the federal ballot he received Saturday allowed him to vote only in the presidential contest and for U.S. delegate. He did not receive a local ballot despite requesting it, his father said.

"He can't even vote for his own father," a frustrated Rimensnyder, 65, said the day before the election. "I'm on the ballot. His father. And he can't vote for me."

Rimensnyder ran against Democratic incumbent Paul Strauss, businessman Keith Ware of the Statehood-Green Party and Damien Ober, a bartender-artist.

Union Hits Parker on Knuckles

Tired of all the electoral politics? There's always teacher political drama as an alternative.

Last week, Washington Teachers Union President George Parker was censured by his executive board, the latest reflection of unhappiness with his leadership in the contentious contract talks with D.C. school officials.

Union sources said a resolution, passed 9 to 4 last Thursday, accused Parker of failing to keep the board informed about negotiations with D.C. school officials and of providing no documentation of what has been proposed at meetings. Parker was also accused of improperly canceling board meetings.

"The resulting state of the WTU is one of membership confusion on contract negotiations, contract compliance and job security," said the resolution, drafted by Parker's chief internal antagonist, Nathan Saunders, the union's general vice president. The measure also directed the union's attorney "to take the strongest legal action against President George Parker if the same behavior continues."

"We've put George on the 90-day plan," Saunders said, referring to a provision in school system personnel rules that allows administrators to give teachers three months to improve their performance or face dismissal. Saunders said the documentation issue is especially serious because it might impede the union's ability to declare an impasse and take the matter to mediation.

Parker dismissed the move as an empty political gesture by Saunders.

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