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Elections Board Musical Chairs

As the city waits to hear an explanation from the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics in the wake of last night's meltdown, it might be worth reviewing the board's unsettled management under Mayor Adrian Fenty. When he took office, the board was run by Wilma Lewis, a holdover from the Anthony A. Williams Administration who lasted until May 4, 2007, when she resigned after learning Fenty was moving to replace her.

Fenty replaced Lewis with Charles R. Lowery Jr., another Williams appointee who had closer connections to Fenty: Both lived in Ward 4. But after the board botched the presidential primary in February, failing to distribute enough ballots for the high turnout and struggling to get results out as fast as Maryland and Virginia, it would not take long for more changes to come. In May, elections board director Alice Miller announced she would be leaving for another job, and Fenty moved Lowery aside, replacing him with Errol Arthur, a lawyer who also lives in Ward 4. Lowery remains as a board member.

Council member Carol Schwartz was outraged by the latter move, blasting the mayor in a statement: "I would think that the Mayor would be more concerned about stabilizing this agency and its Board rather than further upsetting the apple cart."

That Schwartz would be the biggest loser on a night of uncertainty no one could have known at the time. Surely, the fact that she was so prescient is of little solace to her now.

By David A Nakamura  |  September 10, 2008; 2:08 PM ET
Categories:  2008 District Election  
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