Mayor Marion Barry yesterday nominated attorney Edward W. Norton to replace Albert J. Beveridge III as chairman of the troubled D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, apparently ending a long and frustrating search for a replacement who is acceptable to members of the City Council.

Norton, 45, a former assistant U.S. attorney here and general counsel for the Small Business Administration during the Carter administration, agreed to accept the nomination after the mayor had been turned down by at least a half-dozen other candidates.

"It seemed to me to be a job that had to be done," Norton said yesterday. "The sticking point in my mind was the impression I got from the press that the job was not do-able . . . . I also wanted to know that my acceptance of this will not lead to political controversy."

Until now, Barry has been stymied in his efforts to replace Beveridge, whose term expired in December, by Council Member William R. Spaulding (D-Ward 5), who was holding out for his own candidate. The mayor's previous nomination of former council chairman Sterling Tucker to head the elections board was overwhelmingly rejected by Spaulding's Government Operations Committee on March 10.

Spaulding, who met recently with Norton to discuss the elections board post, said yesterday that he will support Norton's nomination and try to speed up the council's confirmation process.

"I thought he was a very nice gentleman and I don't anticipate any problem in the process," Spaulding said. "I expect the nomination will be through the council in May."

City Council Chairman David A. Clarke said he, too, would go along with the nomination. "I see no reason why I would oppose it," he said.

Barry yesterday also resubmitted the nomination of Valerie K. Burden, a consumer issues consultant, to serve on the three-member board of elections.

Burden's nomination, to replace Virginia Moye, also was rejected by Spaulding's committee in March. However, Barry said yesterday he is convinced she was rejected solely because her nomination was coupled with Tucker's.

In assuming control of the elections board, Norton will inherit an error-prone election system and a dispirited staff of 36 employes who have been severely criticized by the public and the press for years.

The new board's immediate challenge includes recruiting a new executive director to replace Teddy Filosofos, who quit last October complaining of political interference.

The board must also produce a new, computerized voter-registration list that will help eliminate election-day snafus and avoid a repeat of last September's primary election, when about 22,000 registered voters were forced to cast challenged ballots.

Compounding the board's problems is the uncertainty over whether the City Council will go ahead with elections scheduled for this fall, or postpone some or all of them.

At next Tuesday's session, the council is scheduled to take up Spaulding's bill that would delay this year's balloting for 367 Advisory Neighborhood Commission members.

The council may also decide to take up an amendment consolidating school board and council elections and delaying primary and general elections scheduled to elect three city-paid lobbyists to promote statehood for the District. The council must act before May 13, the day candidates are scheduled to pick up nominating petitions.

Norton said yesterday that he intends to steer clear of those and other politically charged issues and instead devote his time as chairman to overseeing technical improvements in the city's election system.

"I see this as an apolitical job," Norton said. "I told the mayor I saw the job as a managerial job. If that was the case, I said I did not see any problems."

Beveridge, a lawyer who recently threatened to quit out of frustration with the time it was taking Barry to find a replacement, said yesterday he was relieved.

He Barry Picks Attorney to Head Elections Board By Eric Pianin Washington Post Staff Writer

Mayor Marion Barry yesterday nominated attorney Edward W. Norton to replace Albert J. Beveridge III as chairman of the troubled D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, apparently ending a long and frustrating search for a replacement who is acceptable to members of the City Council.

Norton, 45, a former assistant U.S. attorney here and general counsel Barry Picks Attorney to Head Elections Board By Eric Pianin Washington Post Staff Writer

Mayor Marion Barry yesterday nominated attorney Edward W. Norton to replace Albert J. Beveridge III as chairman of the troubled D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, apparently ending a long and frustrating search for a replacement who is acceptable to members of the City Council.

Norton, 45, a former assistant U.S. attorney here and general counsel said he has no regrets about having taken the highly controversial elections board post, but added, "The situation was more difficult than I thought."

"I think we made some progress that will only come to fruition in the next year or two," Beveridge said. "And the political situation is still very fragile. The gains that have been made can be lost."