October 10, 2013 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Election of former gay official challenged in Ward 6
Jeffrey Richardson, gay news, Washington Blade

Jeffrey Richardson is the city’s former GLBT liaison to the mayor. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The former director of the D.C. Office of GLBT Affairs and current head of Mayor Vincent Gray’s Office on Volunteerism is facing a challenge to his election on Oct. 1 as chair of the Ward 6 Democratic Committee.

Jeffrey Richardson beat challenger Deleon Ware by a vote of 35-22, but two Ward 6 Democratic activists filed a complaint with the D.C. Democratic State Committee contesting the fairness of the balloting. The State Committee was expected to issue an opinion on the complaint Thursday, Oct. 10.

One of the two Democrats filing the complaint, gay ANC Commissioner Alexander Padro, charged that he and others were denied the right to vote in the election because the Ward 6 Democratic leaders released an announcement misleading people about the time the Oct. 1 voting would take place.

Padro noted that several notices issued in advance of the election said voting would take place during a special election meeting scheduled to be held between 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. at a D.C. public library branch next to the Eastern Market Metro station on Capitol Hill.

According to Padro, when he and others arrived to cast their ballots about 7:40 p.m. they were told the voting had ended minutes earlier under a series of “Special Rules” that the Ward 6 Democratic Committee approved less than an hour earlier at the same meeting.

“It was a very shabby procedure,” Padro told the Blade. “According to all the information I saw the voting was supposed to take place between 6:30 and 8.”

Charles Allen, who served as chair of Ward 6 Democrats up until the completion of the election, said he was troubled that a few people missed the window allocated for voting. But he said the procedures adopted for holding the election fully conform to the Ward 6 Democrats’ by-laws. He said the Ward 6 Democrats also submitted an advance copy of the proposed procedures and rules for the election to a subcommittee of the D.C. Democratic State Committee that oversees ward committee elections and that no one raised any objections to the procedures.

According to Allen, former chief of staff for Council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), more than 50 Ward 6 Democrats attending the meeting voted unanimously to approve the rules. He said as far as he could tell, just three people arrived at the meeting too late to be allowed to vote.

Allen is expected to announce his candidacy for the Ward 6 Council seat next week. Wells is giving up the Council seat to run for mayor.

According to people familiar with the Democratic State Committee’s by-laws, the State Committee could refuse to seat Richardson as a full State Committee member if it decides the Ward 6 Democrats’ election was conducted improperly. But the State Committee doesn’t have authority to invalidate the election and require that another election be held, State Committee observers said.

Richardson is a former president of the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, the city’s largest LGBT political organization. He couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

2 Comments
  • #Fool Me Once Ward 6 not Twice!

    It’s no surprise! Here we have individuals who have been tie to election issues over and over again.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dc-needs-a-better-way-to-fill-at-large-council-vacancies/2012/11/16/856bbcb0-2e8f-11e2-89d4-040c9330702a_story.html

    Mr. Allen is far from the ethical individual Ward 6 may want to represent them in 2014. Since being elected in June of 2009, Mr. Allen has not held an election of officers as per the bylaws established in Ward 6 which states they are held in June of the odd year. Furthermore, he passed information onto the DCDSC only when requested and at the last moment. The notices were sloppy and the rules of the day weren’t clear. This is the same leader who also stated… to Mike Debonis

    Charles Allen, chairman of the Ward 6 Democrats, said he is in talks with fellow members to present a resolution reversing what he called an “entrenched, insular” decision to end direct elections.
    ”It’s not what the big-d Democrats should be doing,” he said. “It’s not very small-d democratic.”

    Mr. Allen has taken every opportunity…and there have been many of those…to pick fault with how DC elects it’s political leaders, but when it’s up to him to hold an election, he fails to do so. Then as things heat up for his bid to be the Cm from Ward 6, he’s quick to hold the election albeit 2 years and 5 months later. An election that was pitiful with only a 10 minutes window to vote.

    And now the candidate for Ward 6 Chairman. Mr. Richardson! Here he is again wanting back on the DCDSC… He caused more consternation over various issues when he was previously on the DCDSC, and got nowhere with his agenda. He ran for Chair against Chair Bonds and lost and wasn’t very gracious about it.

    But read this and the comments in the gay community of Mr. Richardson’s antics with the GSDC elections last year.

    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/12/13/stein-club-election-challenged-by-losing-faction/

    His association with the Gray administration for whatever that’s worth in Ward 6…
    It’s doesn’t look any better in Ward 6!

    Please Ward 6 be careful with your vote on April 1, 2014…it’s Fools Day! Don’t be a Fool! Fool me once, but not twice DC!

  • Although Mr. Allen alleges that just 3 people arrived to late to vote, I say many more come into the room after the balloting was completed, be told that the voting had already ended, and then they just left. A few grumbled about not being counted, but I guess they did not approach Mr. Allen.

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