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Posted at 3:16 PM ET, 02/28/2011

Lopez supporter to challenge Mara's ballot petitions

By Mike DeBonis

A supporter of D.C. Council candidate Joshua Lopez (D) is taking aim at the ballot petitions filed by Republican opponent Patrick Mara.

Candidates are required to file 3,000 signatures, including full names and addresses, from registered District voters in order to appear on the April 26 ballot. Those signatures must be collected by circulators who are registered voters themselves.

Lawrence Guyot, a longtime civil rights activist who is backing Lopez, said he plans to challenge more than 2,200 signatures filed by Mara. He cited incomplete voter addresses, suspicious signatures, and petition pages left unsigned or undated by circulators.

Mara submitted 418 petition pages to elections officials, which at 20 signatures a page translates to as many as 8,360 signatures. But pages are often left partially blank, so it is unclear whether the challenge, if sustained, could knock Mara off the ballot.

Mara dismissed the effort and said he's confident his signatures will survive scrutiny. "He's just a first-time candidate trying to get a little ink," he said of Lopez.

Other candidates who submitted fewer signatures are also susceptible to a challenge, which must be filed by 5 p.m. today. In particular, rival candidates have been eying petitions submitted by Democrats Jacque Patterson and Bryan Weaver, who are running with relatively strong bases of support. Patterson turned in 193 pages; Weaver submitted 195.

By Mike DeBonis  | February 28, 2011; 3:16 PM ET
Categories:  The District  
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