READY OR NOT -- and we have our own depressing hunch which it way it will be--the District of Columbia is going ahead with plans for elections this November. Yes, this could be the ultimate fiasco. But the D.C. Council has spoken. In turn, the elections board has announced plans for a voter registration (and re-registration) drive--and the job now is to make it a success.
For those who may be whispering, "What are we voting for in November?" the first thing to do is stop whispering: your question is a good one--and the menu has been changed. The elections usually held in odd years to elect Advisory Neighborhood Commission members have been postponed until November 1984. That's good, even if this delay does trample on the grass roots a bit, because when redistricting changed the boundaries, there went the neighborhoods--as well as chances of tooling up for elections in a timely manner. The election of lobbyists to work Congress on behalf of D.C. statehood also has been postponed, to next May. This too makes sense. What's left are school board elections and a ballot question on what, if anything, to do about what's left of Rhodes Tavern.
Meanwhile, the current voter list reportedly contains about 400,000 names; elections officials believe that more than 100,000 of these are people who don't live here anymore or perhaps don't live at all anymore. The board will send registration forms to about 220,000 names from these rolls--those who didn't vote last fall; if you did vote either in September or November or have registered since, you are deemed registered.
So the first test, obviously, will say something about the board's lists from last year. Election Day registration also will be conducted. And finally, if anyone doesn't register by then, the name goes off.
The mailing is to go out today--and careful monitoring by every would-be voter will be critical to the success of this effort.