Money Out of Politics: Holding DC Elections to a Higher Standard

The Problem:


In Washington D.C., corporations can donate directly to the campaigns of candidates for city office, which is illegal in federal, and many other states’ elections.  JUFJ was part of a number of organizations working as “DC Public Trust” in 2012 to promote a ballot initiative that would have prohibited corporate contributions.

The Technicality:

After an impressive grassroots campaign, we helped turn in about 30,000 signatures; however, the board of elections ruled that many of the signatures were invalid, and that we did not have enough valid signatures to put the initiative on the ballot. We believe this demonstrates serious problems with voting rights in D.C. The signatures of over 3000 registered D.C. voters who signed the petition where deemed invalid because they had signed with an address different from the one at which they were registered. Many of these voters had registered their new address at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) but DC, unlike most states, requires an additional form in order to register a change to a voting address. Many of those deemed invalid had neglected to fill out this additional form.

What’s Next?

Due to the DC Board of Election's questionable challenge of the Initiative 70 money-out-of-politics petition, DC Public Trust is going to court and expanding its campaign to hold DC's elections infrastructure accountable.