The Attorney General Election is On 1

At long last, the first election of the District’s Attorney General is going forward.

Last week, the D.C. Court of Appeals ordered the Board of Elections to hold the first election in 2014, unless doing so would be practically impossible. Today, the Board of Elections made clear that it is still possible to hold the election this year and announced that nominating petitions for the November 4 General Election for Attorney General are now available.

We’re pleased that the Board has moved expeditiously to comply with the Court’s order. It’s been nearly four years since the people overwhelmingly ratified a Charter amendment making the Attorney General elected, beginning in 2014. And it’s been nearly a year since the Council first voted to postpone that election, based on the opinion of the current Attorney General.

Now that the Court has overturned the postponement and rejected the Attorney General’s opinion, it is important that there be no further delays and that the city support the Board as it moves forward. Potential candidates and the voters need to know that this time the election really is going to happen.

According to the Court’s Order, the Board may proceed to hold the election according to the provisions of the Charter governing the timing of a special election for Attorney General. This appears to be what the Board is planning, and it makes sense since it does not seem practically possible at this point to hold a partisan primary. But there is plenty of time to hold a partisan special election for Attorney General, just as  the city quite often holds partisan special elections for Council.

We’re looking forward to November 4, when residents of the District will finally join those of 43 other states by electing their Attorney General.

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One thought on “The Attorney General Election is On

  • The Civic Center

    While there are some disadvantages to having an appointed attorney general, an elected attorney general is a politician and thus could be influenced by campaign contributions,

    D.C. voters seem to rush to embrace anything that sounds like reform without the knowledge needed to consider all of the advantages and disadvantages of the proposal in question. Charter Amendment V from 2012 is another example,

    I don’t see much opportunity for informed deliberation on charter amendments when they are put on the ballot. Note that the U.S. Constitution is amended not by popular vote but through a process that provides many opportunities for deliberation in state legislatures and in Congress.

    A way to improve the process for D.C. charter amendments could be to replace approval by popular election with approval by a supermajority (2/3 or 3/4) of Advisory Neighborhood Commissions. (This would, I guess, require amending the charter!) ANC meetings would thus provide a formal opportunity for citizens to learn about proposed amendments and to hear and discuss diverse views of them. Involving the ANCs in this way would ensure that approval or rejection of a charter amendment is the result of an informed, moderated discussion rather than a reaction to a scandal or a rush to promote change under the illusion of a more ethical and responsive government.