Washington primary voters may not get to feel the Bern.
Because of an error by the D.C. Democratic Party, Sen. Bernard Sanders’ name is not on the ballot, according to a report by WRC-TV, the local NBC affiliate.
Both the Vermont senator’s team and the campaign of rival Hillary Clinton submitted the required $2,500 registration fee and other paperwork, but the party did not notify the D.C. Board of Elections by a key deadline.
The registration deadline was March 16, but the party did not send the board Mr. Sanders’ registration information until the 17th, according to the affiliate. As a result of this error, Mr. Sanders’ eligibility to appear on the ballot is being contested.
Confusion appeared to reign late Wednesday over just what happened and whether it could be fixed.
D.C. Democratic Party Chairwoman Anita Bonds told The Washington Times that the party’s primary plan, which included the paperwork for all candidates, was submitted by 7 p.m. on the 16th, per the rules of the Democratic National Committee. But the D.C. Board of Elections offices closes at 4:45 p.m.
Ms. Bonds said the extended hours for submission is permitted and has been acknowledged. She also said that “clarifying legislation” could be passed by the board or the D.C. City Council soon to resolve any disputes.
When asked, Ms. Bonds said she did not know why WRC would report, based on the party’s missing a deadline to submit all paperwork, that Mr. Sanders’ name was left off the ballot but not Mrs. Clinton’s.
She did tell The Times that there is at least one outstanding citizen-challenge to Mr. Sanders’ eligibility to be on the ballot.
The D.C. Board of Elections website shows that a man named Robert Brannum challenged Mr. Sanders’ candidacy March 24, one day after the list of candidates was posted.
According to The Associated Press, Mr. Brannum is a schoolteacher and a former president of the D.C. Federation of Civic Associations.
There are no challenges to Mrs. Clinton’s eligibility, whether on the basis of the party’s missing the filing deadline or anything else.
An after-hours email from The Times to a spokesperson for the election board seeking clarification of the confused issue was not immediately returned.
The Sanders campaign said in a statement that it had followed the rules and expects his name on the ballot.
“We did what the D.C. law requires in order to get Bernie on the ballot and we are confident he will be on the ballot,” communications director Michael Briggs said.
The city’s presidential primary is set for June 14, with 46 delegates at stake.
• Victor Morton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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