or the Count There is nothing extraordinary about something working the way it is supposed to -- unless it never really worked that way in the first place. We have in mind the District of Columbia elections board. Like a computer with dead batteries, it had a way of going down for the count and threatening to make a mockery of the District's young government. So it is worth cheering when the board conducts a most complicated set of elections with what appears to have been efficiency, accuracy and even good humor.
Like so many people who have worked for him or with him, we are impressed with the job done by Emmett H. Fremaux Jr., the energetic and remarkably calm executive director of the board. He inherited what could be charitably described as a complete mess of scrambled records, hit-or-miss procedures and low employee morale. In the 1982 primary, for instance, about 20,000 voters were forced to cast special challenged ballots because their names weren't on the voter rolls at the polling places. Many of the names that were on the rolls seemed to belong to people long gone, to either their just rewards or to some other part of the country.
Mr. Fremaux began a serious purge of the rolls -- and there's more to come now that the Nov. 6 drill is over and tallied. The board also got out mass mailings to voters informing them of changes in voting procedures and polling places, and it issued legible cards with this and other pertinent information.
Last Tuesday's vote was no procedural picnic either. You had a major write-in campaign that complicated the count, along with the hundreds of different advisory neighborhood commission elections to keep straight within each precinct when ballots were being given out.
So it has been established that the District of Columbia can count. Given the ever-precarious state of its hard-won franchise, this is important political news.