Election Officials Apologize for Primary Glitches; Agency Takes the Blame for Not Mailing Voter Guides on Time
Byline: Jim McElhatton, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
District elections officials yesterday apologized for mistakes made during the Jan. 13 presidential primary, but disputed criticism that their handling of the contest was a national embarrassment.
"The District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics has been criticized by several elected officials for certain aspects of the primary," Board Chairman Benjamin F. Wilson told the D.C. Council yesterday. "Some of this criticism is valid."
Mr. Wilson said the agency accepts blame for not mailing voter guides out on time, but added that officials should not be blamed for failing to report election results until after midnight.
"The board will further pledge to make every effort to speed up final election night results," Mr. Wilson said. "However, under no circumstances, shall the board sacrifice accuracy for speed."
But Mr. Wilson continued to blame the U.S. Postal Service for the late delivery of voter guides. He said the board mailed the guides on Jan. 6 so they should have reached voters before the election.
Earlier this week a postal service spokeswoman said the board didn't mail some guides until as late as Jan. 9, and that election officials paid standard rather than political mailing rates, which would have expedited handling.
D.C. Council member Vincent Orange, Ward 5 Democrat, said the elections board performed well, despite criticism from Council members Adrian Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat, and Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat.
"We came out with flying colors," Mr. Orange said.
D.C. Council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat, who had called the board's performance "an embarrassment" and likened it to Florida elections officials' handling of the 2000 general election, did not attend yesterday's nearly five-hour hearing. …