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