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.