The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics said yesterday it would reprint ballots scheduled to be used in Ward 1 for the Sept. 14 Democratic primary because the ballots, printed in English and Spanish, do not include instructions in Spanish to vote on both sides of the card.
The board said it would cost about $2,500 to reprint the approximately 31,000 ballots with the Spanish language words for "vote on both sides" printed at the bottom.
At the same time, the board turned down a request from City Council member Betty Ann Kane (D-At Large) to reprint about half the Democratic primary ballots to avoid possible voter confusion in the at-large council race.
The at-large candidates appear on the front of the ballots printed for use in the four wards were there are no ward-level council races, but appear on the back in the four wards where ward-level races are being held.
Kane said some voters, poll workers and campaign supporters will be confused by the different locations of the candidates' names for the at-large race. She said it would require each of the Democratic at-large candidates to print five separate sample ballots to show potential voters where their names will be located.
"Given the history of elections in this city, anything which makes voter understanding, voting itself and vote counting more confusing is an invitation to disaster . . . ," Kane said during a special meeting of the board to hear objections to the ballot.
Democratic at-large candidate Johnny Barnes and a spokesman for at-large candidate Barbara Lett Simmons both objected to any reprint of the ballots. Barnes said the cost, estimated by the board at about $25,000, was prohibitive, and said he did not expect voters to be confused.
Board Chairman Albert J. Beveridge III said all three members of the board voted to reject Kane's appeal because of the costs and administrative difficulties involved. "There should be no problem created. There is no one candidate prejudiced by this," Beveridge said.