District of Columbia citizens will vote on Nov. 6 to choose all members of the city's Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.
The Commissions, called ANCS, were established by the city's Home Rule Charter in 1975 to serve as a grass-roots link between communities and city hall. They review virtually all projects and proposals with potential neighborhood impact.
Mary S. Rodgers, the city's elections administrator, said it is important that as many candidates as possible sign up to be on the ballot.
The more candidates there are, Rodgers said, the likelier it will be that all 367 seats on the city's 36 ANCS will be filled on election day, without the process dragging on for weeks as it did after the 1977 election.
Because comparatively few people filed in advance to get onto the ballot in 1977, Rodgers recalled, there were many write-ins, and the process of certifying the winners lasted as long as three months in some instances.
Many of the write-in candidates could not even be located. In some cases, the board had to draw straws to decide the winners of 1-to-1 tie votes.
"It was sheer nightmare," Rodgers said. "I live in dread it might happen again."
She and the Board of Elections and Ethics, for whom she works, have attempted to generate widespread interest among candidates to get them onto the ballot.
Petitions for potential candidates for the unpaid ANC posts are available at the elections board office in Room 7 of the District Building, 14th and E streets NW.
Candidates have until Sept. 7 to obtain 25 signatures of qualified neighborhood voters and return them to the elections board.
Delores M. Woods, the city's voting registrar, said the office will be kept open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday over the coming Labor Day weekend to encourage candidates to take out and file petitions.
By last Friday, a total of 101 potential candidates had obtained petitions, Woods said.
The original ANC law that limited neighborhood commissioners to serving two consecutive two-year terms has been changed by the City Council to permit third terms. If the law had not changed, the original ANC members who were chosen in 1975 would not have been able to run again this year.