A petition seeking to block this afternoon's scheduled seating of Charlene Drew Jarvis as the Word 4 member of the D.C. City Council was filed with the city's Board of Elections and Ethics yesterday by Norman Neverson, the second-highest vote getter in the May 1 election.
Neverson charged that Jarvis had not lived in the District of Columbia for a full year prior to the election, as is required by law.
After an extraordinary hearing last night, Jeanus B. Parks, acting chairman of the elections board, announced that a decision on delaying certification would be reached after the board's only other current member, James L. Denson, returns today from an out-of-town trip. If there is a delay, Parks said detailed hearings will be scheduled.
If the board rejects Neverson's petition, the D.C. Court of Appeals will be asked to block Javis's certification, his attorney, James H. Craddock, told Parks.
Parks heard testimony from Neverson and Goldie C. Johnson, another loser in the May 1 election, seeking to cast doubt on the Jarvis residency. Neverson testified that many of his supporters had told him Jarvis continued to live in Chevy Chase, Md., within the one-year period before the election . Neverson claimed she maintained a driver's license and automobile registration here.
Jarvis did not attend the hearing, although her husband, W. Ernest Jarvis, had said earlier at the elections board's meeting that she would be present.
In a statement issued later, Jarvis reiterated her contention that she "had been a resident (of the District of Comlumbia) for more than one year preceding the May 1 special election." Charlene Jarvis declined further comment on grounds that it would be "improper until such time as the Board of Elections informs me of soem officials action."
Jarvis, the daughter of famed medical researcher Charles Drew,is a native Washingtonian. She said in an interview after the May 1 election that her family moved from Chevy Chase into the District of Columbia in 1977, well before the one-year residency period needed to seek election.
On Feb. 22, when filing candidacy papers, she submitted an affidavit made under oath to the elections board contending she was a legal candidate. The document itself said filing a false oath could subject the signer to a $10,000 fine and five years in prison, or both.
Before and during the campaign, questions were raised informally by opponents about her residency, but no official attempt was made to block her candidacy.
The Ward 4 seat was occupied until Jan. 2 by Arrington Dixon, now the City Council chairman. In the May 1 election, Jarvis received 3,615 votes and Neverson 2,280, according to returns that did not include absentee ballots.