The D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics announced yesterday that a group supporting a proposed initiative to maintain mandatory no-fault insurance had failed to collect enough signatures required for a special election.
In a November vote, the City Council weakened the no-fault law by making it optional. Under the mandatory law, accident victims received compensation for their medical bills from their own insurance companies regardless of who was at fault. A congressional review of the new legislation was suspended while the elections board reviewed the petition signatures.
Although the Yes on No-Fault Committee turned in 22,400 signatures, the election board said that only 10,939 who signed the petitions were registered D.C. voters. The law required 13,162 signatures be collected by Feb. 11. The election board plans to give details of its count tomorrow.
"I don't know what happened," said Lawrence Mirel, an attorney for the no-fault group. "There are some areas where we could challenge but we would only challenge it if we thought we could pick up enough signatures to make a difference."
Although not all of the bills are in, Mirel estimated that the no-fault committee, made up of community groups and representatives from the insurance industry, spent between $50,000 and $100,000. Mirel said most of the money was given by the insurance industry, and that Government Employees Insurance Co. was the largest contributor.
JAM Corp., a District public relations firm, was organizer of the the campaign for the no-fault referendum.