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Testimony of William O’Field
Executive Director, D.C. Democratic State Committee

Council of the District of Columbia, Committee on Government Operations Public Hearing on Bill 20-0265, the “District of Columbia Board Primary Date Alteration Act of 2013”

John A. Wilson Building, Washington, DC May 29, 2013

Good morning Councilmember McDuffie, Committee members and staff.  I am William O’Field and I serve as the Executive Director of the D.C. Democratic State Committee (the State Committee) and am a resident of Ward One.   I appreciate the opportunity to comment on Bill 20-0265, the “District of Columbia Primary Date Alteration Act of 2013”. 

I am here today to speak in support of Bill 20-0265 which would move the primary elections for the President of the United States, the District of Columbia Delegate to the House of Representatives, and the Council of the District of Columbia from April to June.

The State Committee generally approves the change; however, to date, they have not taken a position on it. 

If passed, Bill 20-0265 would continue to guarantee that District of Columbia voters serving in the military overseas and those living, working, and studying abroad would be able to receive their absentee ballots and return them for counting.

Moreover, Bill 20-0265 would further enfranchise these voters because it would allow for enough time between the District’s primary and general elections for the Board of Elections to produce a ballot for the general election as prescribed in federal law.

Several of the States hold June primaries including our neighboring state of Virginia which will be holding their gubernatorial primary next month. 

However, as Bill 20-0265 relates to the presidential preference primary, the State Committee would like to keep the date for the presidential preference primary open, because the Democratic National Committee will sometimes allocate additional base delegates to each state that participates in a “clustering” primary or selection process, which allows for additional delegates. 

The D.C. Democratic State Committee understands the desire to combine elections; however, with the lack of representation that the District of Columbia suffers, the Party wants the opportunity to have as much representation as possible for the 632,000 plus District residents.

In closing, I would like to share with you that it is always the goal of the State Committee to enfranchise all District voters to ensure their full participation in the city’s electoral processes.

Thank you.