DC Board of Elections Rejects Medical Marijuana Petitions -- Admits One of Seven Valid Signatures Ignored but Refuses to Correct Error 8/9/02

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed


(press release from the Marijuana Policy Project)

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is considering its legal options after the Washington, DC, Board of Elections and Ethics (BOEE) refused to correct its erroneous omission of thousands of valid signatures for Initiative 63, the Medical Marijuana Initiative of 2002.

"The Board has acted capriciously and unfairly," said MPP Executive Director Robert Kampia. "We presented clear evidence of massive errors by the Board's staff, but the Board refused to use its discretion to uphold the will of DC voters."

Initiative petitions must contain valid signatures from five percent of the District's registered voters, and that total must include five percent of voters from at least five of the city's eight wards. There is no dispute that the more than 18,000 signatures accepted by the Board met the citywide requirement, but the BOEE claimed that MPP had presented enough valid signatures from only four of eight wards. In Ward 4, the board claimed MPP fell approximately 100 signatures short.

But MPP's review of the Board's work found that massive numbers of valid signatures had been falsely ruled invalid. An analysis of nearly 4,000 allegedly bad signatures found that at least 15 percent were clearly valid.

Kampia and MPP Director of Government Relations Steve Fox met with Registrar Kathy Fairley prior to the Board's deliberations and presented her with the results of the MPP's analysis. After reviewing a sample of petitions, Fairley agreed that a large number of perfectly good signatures had been erroneously disallowed -- and reported that finding to the board.

But rather than owning up to the massive errors and extrapolating the results of MPP's analysis, BOEE Chairman Benjamin F. Wilson insisted that MPP must either verify each and every falsely invalidated signature -- a project that would cost the nonprofit group approximately 400 person-hours of staff time, on top of the 100 hours already spent identifying and correcting the Board's mistakes -- or trust the same staff that made the errors in the first place to recheck their work.

"This is outrageous," Kampia said. "Whether out of malice or simple incompetence, the Board screwed up, and now they insist that our staff and members must shoulder the burden of fixing their mistakes. That's not acceptable. The Board of Elections and Ethics fraudulently disenfranchised thousands of District voters and then refused to take responsibility for its actions. We didn't pick this fight, but we will win it."

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #249, 8/9/02 Nevada Marijuana Initiative Endorsed by State's Largest Police Group | DC Board of Elections Rejects Medical Marijuana Petitions -- Admits One of Seven Valid Signatures Ignored but Refuses to Correct Error | Democratic Governor Candidate Calls for Repeal of NY Rockefeller Laws | Switzerland Defends Cannabis Decrim, Tells UN Narcocrats to Buzz Off | Which War Am I In? DEA Meth Offensive Continues as US Pilots in Afghanistan Gobble Speed | Libertarian Party Launches TV Ad Campaign Targeting Rep. Bob Barr on Medical Marijuana | Drug Czar Picks Beer-Promoting NASCAR Hot Rodder to Carry Anti-Drug Message | School Anti-Drug Programs Get Failing Grade, Study Says | Drug Dog Terrorizes Native American Kindergartners in South Dakota, Lawsuit Filed | Newsbrief: South Dakota Lakota Successfully Harvest Hemp Crop | Newsbrief: Peru Backs Off on Coca Eradication, Again | Newsbrief: Radical Party Moscow Activists Go to Trial for Marijuana Legalization Rally -- Free Speech at Heart of Case | Newsbrief: Federal Judge Deems Utah Asset Forfeiture Initiative Constitutional | Newsbrief: Canadian NAFTA Suit Over Hemp Restrictions Enters Arbitration | Newsbrief: More than One Million in Drug Treatment in US, SAMHSA Says | Newsbrief: Budget Woes Close Detox, Treatment Facilities in NC, Iowa | Newsbrief: Stiffer Ecstasy Penalties Would Hit Penn State University | Newsbrief: Study Finds THC-like Chemicals Useful for Certain Disorders | Newsbrief: Archeological Evidence of Bronze Age Drug Trade | Web Scan: Narco News, Nature, Cato | Legislative Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision | The Reformer's Calendar

This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]