WASHINGTON, DC – Today Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen introduced three bills focused on election modernization and good government during the Council of the District of Columbia’s May legislative meeting.
“These bills are an important step toward modernizing and improving the District’s ballot access procedures, voter registration process, and availability of lobbyist disclosure data. They require some simple modernizations and updates that will remove barriers to voter participation, improve the accuracy of our voter rolls, and make lobbyist reports more timely and accessible,” said Councilmember Allen.
The Ballot Access Modernization Amendment Act of 2015 improves the method and accuracy of collecting petition signatures by allowing campaigns the option of using online signature collection tools in addition to the traditional paper collection method. The Board of Elections would be required to make a mobile app available for signature collection that would provide real-time registration-matching on tablet devices, alerting signers to any needed updates, such as current address or name changes, that would prevent verification of their signature.
The Automatic Voter Registration Amendment Act of 2015 removes barriers to voter registration by automatically registering residents to vote when they fill out an application for any identification at the DMV. The bill will create a process for the Board of Elections to accept electronic registration information from the Department of Motor Vehicles, streamlining the user experience and improving the accuracy of information on city voter rolls.
The Lobbyist Activity Reporting Transparency Amendment Act of 2015 improves the transparency and timeliness of public reporting of lobbying activities. Anyone lobbying the Council or the executive branch will be required to file monthly activity reports with the Director of Government Ethics rather than the current practice of filing every six months.
Allen added, “These bills require some simple, common-sense steps that will make our government more user-friendly and transparent. Helping District residents register to vote more easily and participate in the petition process will strengthen our democracy and encourage stronger civic engagement. Giving citizens more information about lobbyists seeking to influence elected officials is an important way to put the power back in the hands of voters and continue the work of building a culture of public accountability in District government.”
The Ballot Access Modernization Amendment Act of 2015 and the Lobbyist Activity Reporting Transparency Amendment Act of 2015 were referred to the Council Committee on the Judiciary. The Automatic Voter Registration Amendment Act of 2015 was referred to the Council Committee on the Judiciary with comments from the Council Committee on Transportation and the Environment.