The D.C. elections board announced yesterday it will launch a massive reregistration drive next week in an effort to unsnarl the city's tangled voter rolls and to help the board conduct a smooth-running election this November.
The current voter list contains about 400,000 names, but election officials believe that more than 100,000 of them are the names of people who have moved from the District or are listed more than once, along with a small number of people who have died.
The reregistration will be conducted by a mass mailing that the board intends to send out Thursday.
City residents who voted in last September's primary or the November general election or who have registered since last year's elections are not required to reregister and will not receive the special forms.
All others who appear on the voter rolls--about 220,000 names--will receive the registration forms, which they must complete and return to the elections board. A second mailing will be sent out before Sept. 15 to those who do not respond to the first one.
In recent years, the board has had serious problems conducting elections, especially because of widespread inaccuracies in the voter rolls.
In last September's primary about 22,000 voters were forced to cast special ballots because they were not listed on the rolls. Officials later determined that all but a few hundred were properly registered.
Edward W. Norton, the newly appointed elections board chairman, and William H. Lewis, the board's general counsel and acting executive director, said at a news conference yesterday that they expect the reregistration drive to play a major role in improving the running of elections. The reregistration is expected to cost $265,700.
Lewis said he expects the number of voters forced to cast special ballots to "substantially decrease."
The measure passed by the City Council requiring the partial reregistration also postponed this November's scheduled election of more than 300 Advisory Neighborhood Commission members until the November 1984 elections. The council has also agreed to delay until next year the election of three lobbyists who would work to persuade Congress to approve statehood for the District.
However, scheduled elections for six school board seats and a citizens' initiative on preserving historic Rhodes Tavern will be held as planned on Nov. 8, City Council and elections officials said yesterday.
Council member William R. Spaulding (D-Ward 5), chairman of the council committee that supervises the elections board, said he has no plans to ask the council to act on legislation that would postpone the school board races.
Members of the council have been considering consolidating school board and ANC elections, which are held in odd-numbered years, with City Council elections, now held in even-numbered years.
However, Spaulding said, any attempt to combine the elections would not affect this year's school board elections.
Election officials said they expect about 60,000 people to reregister. Eventually they will be combined into a new voter list with the names of about 175,000 people who voted last year or who have registered since.
Lewis said voters should reregister as quickly as possible. Those who do not reregister will be allowed to vote if they cast ballots in either this year's election or in any of the three elections scheduled for next year. Their names will be moved to the registration rolls if they reregister when they vote.
Lewis said residents who do not reregister or vote by next year's November general elections will be removed from the rolls.
The new law for the first time also requires voters to notify the board of any address changes.
Norton said the board expects to fill its executive director's job soon.
One candidate for the post is Philip W. Ogilvie, 51, an aide to city secretary Dwight Cropp.
Ogilvie, a longtime supporter of Mayor Marion Barry and a former director of the Toronto zoo, advised Barry on voting rules during his two mayoral campaigns and served briefly as a consultant to the elections board after the 1978 election.