Councilmember Kwame Brown (D-At Large) won his bid for D.C. Council Chair in November 2010. As of January 2011, his seat was declared officially vacant, setting off a race to organize and hold a special election within at least 114 days as required by the D.C. Home Rule Charter.
As per D.C. law, the D.C. Democratic State committee -- our local Democratic Party -- was given the right to appoint an interim councilmember to hold the seat until a special election could be held. On January 6, 74 members of the DCDSC gathered to select an interim replacement for Brown, and after three tightly contested rounds of voting, settled on Sekou Biddle, the Ward 4 member of the State Board of Education. He was sworn in on January 7.
In the meantime, candidates who weren't vying for the DCDSC selection process were allowed to start circulating nominating petitions, with which they were required to collect 3,000 signatures from D.C. voters in order to get themselves on the ballot for the April 26 Special Election. The petitions were due on February 16, and what was a field of almost 20 contenders was narrowed down -- to 11.
So that's where we are now. Looking down the road, though...
From February 19-28, a challenge period will take place, during which D.C. residents can formally challenge the validity of any signatures provided by any campaign. Signatures found to be invalid -- say, the signatory isn't a D.C. resident -- can be knocked off the final tally. (Calvin Gurley was found to have fewer than the 3,000 necessary signatures, so he'd off the ballot. Now we're down to 10 candidates.)
Though the challenge period ends February 28, the process continues through until March 18, when the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics will issue final determinations on any challenges. If any one candidates is knocked below the necessary 3,000 signatures because of successful challenges, they won't appear on the ballot.
On April 26, everyone votes.
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