The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics yesterday voted to remove mayoral candidate Dr. Morris Harper from the Sept. 14 primary ballot, after a second review of his nominating petitions confirmed he lacked the required signatures of 2,000 registered Democratic voters.
The board also voted to remove the names of four City Council candidates and two for D.C. delegate because of insufficient signatures, but allowed two other Council candidates to remain on the ballot after a review of their petitions.
Earlier this week the board had announced in preliminary findings that the petitions from all nine candidates had failed a random sampling and that a detailed, name-by-name check would be done to confirm the results. In order to be counted as valid, signatures on petitions must be those of persons registered to vote in the primary in which the candidate is running.
"We stand by the signatures 100 percent," Harper said yesterday during an appearance before the board. He said he believed the board's records were either incorrect or incomplete and that he would challenge the board's ruling.
The ruling is the latest setback for Harper, a 34-year-old physician seeking his first elected office. His petitions were accepted in July only after he convinced the board he had been given incorrect information by a clerk about the filing deadline.
Next week, he faces a hearing before the board on allegations that he inflated the amount of funds and the number of contributors listed on his July 10 campaign finance disclosure forms. Harper said yesterday he expects to win his case before the board.
Harper submitted a total of 2,418 signatures, of which at least 428 were ruled invalid, according to the board's report.
All of yesterday's rejected candidates have four calendar days in which to challenge the board's ruling.
Richard Lee, a Democratic candidate in Ward 5, and Calvin Wingfield, a Democratic candidate in Ward 1, were the two candidates whose petitions were approved after the second check by elections officials. "We were not confident of the efficiency of the board," said Lee, who added that the episode has "had an adverse effect" on his campaign.
Those rejected yesterday were at-large Council Democratic candidates Patricia Wells and Osie L. Thorpe; Republicans Viola James and John West, candidates for D.C. delegate; Democratic Ward 1 council candidate Ester McCain Jr., and Rufus Langford, a Ward 5 Democratic council candidate.