For Immediate Release:
March 4, 2014
Contact: Dionne Johnson Calhoun
Today, Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) introduced an elections reform package in an effort to allow more residents to engage and participate in the democratic process. The legislation includes the "Instant Runoff Voting Amendment Act of 2014," the "Open Primary Elections Amendment Act of 2014," and the "Clean Hands Elections Reform Amendment Act of 2014."
The "Instant Runoff Voting Amendment Act of 2014" would provide a method of casting and tabulating votes whereby voters would be able to rank candidates in the order of their choice and the candidates with the least number of votes would be eliminated.
"It is extremely troubling that candidates can be elected to public office with as little as 30 percent of the vote," said Grosso. "This important legislation will increase voter turnout as voters will be free to mark their ballot for the candidate that they truly prefer without fear that their choice will help elect their least preferred candidate. More importantly, instant runoff voting ensures that the elected candidate has a true majority support."
Grosso introduced the "Open Primary Elections Amendment Act of 2014" highlighting that the District has a growing number of Independent voters that identify with neither the Republican nor the Democratic Party. According to the D.C. Board of Elections, in 2003, there were a little over 50,000 Independent voters and today, almost 76,000 District voters identify as such, yet these voters do not have the opportunity to vet candidates for public office through the primary process.
This legislation would allow qualified registered voters the opportunity to change their party affiliation through Election Day.
Finally, the "Clean Hands Elections Reform Amendment Act of 2014" would require candidates seeking elected office in D.C. to receive certification from the Office of Campaign Finance that neither the candidate nor any of the candidate's previous campaigns or political committees owe any outstanding taxes, fines or fees to the District prior to receiving ballot access.
"By requiring candidates to certify that they have 'clean hands' when it comes to their prior campaigns, we will encourage our candidates to be more attentive to the elections and campaign finance rules," said Grosso.
Grosso will continue to push for residents to become more engaged in the political process. During his first year in office, he introduced the "Public Financing of Political Campaigns Amendment Act of 2013" and more recently the "Local Resident Voting Rights Act of 2013."