Democratic mayoral candidate Patricia Roberts Harris asked yesterday for a temporary delay of next week's primary elections until questions about the validity of 28,000 names added to the voting rolls could be cleared up. But the Board of Elections and Ethics rejected the request last night.
In filing the request for a postponement, Harris cited a published report in yesterday's editions of The Washington Post that, according to elections officials, many of those names are likely duplications or the names of people who have died or moved from the city.
Harris contended in her complaint that the elections board could not meet its statutory obligation to ensure a fair election unless it ordered a postponement to "cure the existing deficiencies in the voter registry and voting process."
After filing her petition, Harris told reporters that the city's voter registration rules "have become polluted with the names of people who, by a matter of law, are not entitled to vote in the next election."
However, Albert J. Beveridge III, chairman of the election board, told Harris last night in a hand-delivered letter that the board in any case could not honor her request.
"Our general counsel advises us that we have no authority to grant your request to postpone the election," Beveridge said. "Accordingly, it would also be inappropriate to grant a hearing on the matter."
He also said that the board recently took steps to ensure the validity of the voter registry. Those steps included checking the list of recent decedents against the voter list and securing an agreement from the U.S. Postal Service under which the board now receives changes of address on all mail sent by the board to registered voters.
Currently there are 328,000 registered voters in the District, according to city figures, including 40,000 names that were added since October 1980.
Of the 40,000 additional names, 28,000 are of people who registered to vote but whose forms were never processed, according to board officials.
Elections board officials said that records of many of those unprocessed voters were discovered since May, after Teddy Filosofos was hired as executive director of the Board of Elections.
The board was required by law to treat those names as new registrations and add them to the voter list, the officials said.
A board official insisted yesterday that none of the 28,000 names duplicated names already on the rolls, although he could not say how many of the additional names were of deceased residents or persons who have moved out of the District.
Harris indicated yesterday she probably would appeal an unfavorable ruling from the Board of Elections to the D.C. Court of Appeals, and exercise "any other remedies that may be available to me."
Nearly all of the candidates filed financial disclosure forms yesterday in accordance with city election regulations mandating such filings eight days before the primary.
Barry reported receiving a total of$983,213 in campaign contributions, but only through Aug. 20. Barry has been way ahead of his opponents in raising funds throughout most of the campaign and many had expected him to top $1 million in yesterday's report.
Ann Kinney, Barry's campaign cotreasurer, said yesterday that the report did not cover the additional 13 days because of a misunderstanding about when the eight-day, preprimary report was due.
The partial report showed that his campaign had collected $78,151 since July 31 and as of Aug. 20, had $83,049 on hand.
Harris reported receiving a total of $583,250 through yesterday, including $76,524 since her last report Aug. 10. She had expenditures of $148,939 and reported a cash balance of $46,323, with outstanding debts of $26,328.
Council member John Ray's report showed he had received $15,761 since his last report for a total of $326,463. His report showed expenditures of $17,228 during the same period and he now has $5,647 on hand.
Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis had not filed a report by the time the office closed at 5:30 p.m.
Republican mayoral candidate E. Brooke Lee reported total receipts of $32,863 and expenditures of $32,590. His cash on hand balance was about $273. Lee's opponent, James E. Champagne, reported total receipts of $6,785, expenditures of $6,716 and cash on hand of $68.
In the council chairman's race, incumbent Arrington Dixon reported total receipts of $177,830, including $24,213 since Aug. 10. He had a cash balance of $10,525.
Former council chairman Sterling Tucker reported total receipts of $91,845, expenditures of $77,938 and a cash balance of $13,907.
Council member David A. Clarke (D-Ward 1) showed total receipts of $91,095 in his bid for the chairman's post, expenditures of $84,690 and $9,932 on hand.
Earlier in the day, Harris took her campaign to Ballou High School in far Southeast and accused Barry of neglecting the city's educational needs.
"Unlike the incumbent mayor, I do not see education merely as an item in the budget that can be played with at the mayor's convenience," Harris told reporters outside the school at Fourth and Trenton streets SE.
Harris pledged to work more closely with the D.C. school board to develop three-year budget plans and to lead a public debate on her proposal to require children to begin attending school at age 3, instead of age 5, as they are now required.
She also promised to institute a Mayor's Educational Honors Program that each year would provide $2,000 scholarships to five high school graduates for four years at the University of the District of Columbia or their first year at any other accredited college.
Barry, meanwhile, returned yesterday to East Capitol Dwellings to participate in a symbolic ground breaking for a $21.2 million, two-year renovation at the 557-unit complex that he had promised two years ago. The actual work is expected to begin in about four months.
"This is a great day for all of us who believe in people and safe and sanitary housing," Barry told an audience of about 150.
Most of the $18.2 million renovation costs will be paid by federal funds.
Also yesterday, The Washington Times endorsed Sterling Tucker for City Council chairman and James E. Champagne for the GOP nomination for mayor.