Republican mayoral candidate E. Brooke Lee Jr. yesterday asked a federal judge to delay the general election, scheduled for Nov. 2, until the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics compiles an accurate and up-to-date record of registered voters.
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Lee said that re-registration of qualified city voters is "the only solution to the problem at hand."
Lee contended in court papers that the "deplorable condition" of the city's voter registry "threatens the full and free political participation of a substantial number of qualified District of Columbia voters."
After the Sept. 14 primary election, which was bogged down in an unprecedented number of foul-ups with voter registration, the board of elections reported that 23,000 voters had to file special ballots because their names were not on the city rolls. The board subsequently disqualified about 5,000 of those ballots, but later discovered that scores of those voters were in fact registered.
In his lawsuit, Lee contends that a "total breakdown" in the city's voting records makes it impossible to determine the number of District residents whose registration data has been lost or destroyed, or is otherwise unavailable to election officials.
Lee, who defeated his primary opponent James E. Champagne by a vote of 2,497 to 1,585, also contends that former District residents who now live in Prince George's County are still in the city's voting registry.
"The breakdown in voting records has operated to prevent lawfully registered voters from being able to exercise their right to vote," he said.
Lee contends that unless the November election is postponed until the voter registry is accurate, votes for him will be thrown out or people who support his candidacy simply will not try to vote because of the state of the city's records.
D.C. Elections board chairman Albert J. Beveridge III recommended in February that all city voters be re-registered in order to straighten out voter rolls, but a city council committee rejected his proposal on the grounds that there was not enough time before the primary to successfully carry out a new registration