DC Council Votes to Move Primary Date - Again - NBC4 Washington
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DC Council Votes to Move Primary Date - Again

City to spend millions to update voting system

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    The next election in the District is just over a year away. News4's Tom Sherwood takes a look at how the city's preparing to improve the process.

    (Published Tuesday, May 16, 2017)

    District of Columbia lawmakers voted to reschedule the city's primary election - again. 

    The D.C. Council voted 12-0 Tuesday to approve a bill that would move the primary to the third Tuesday in June. One council member abstained from the vote. The bill will go to Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser for her signature after a second vote that's mostly a formality.

    Next year's primary had been scheduled for September. But that date conflicts with a federal law that's meant to ensure military and overseas voters have enough time to fill out absentee ballots.

    The city's primary election has shifted between June, April and September in recent years. Council member Charles Allen, a Democrat who sponsored the bill, says the new permanent date will help drive up voter turnout.

    Mayor Bowser also found $3 million for the city elections office to get an upgraded computer system in place hopefully by the June 2018 primary, replacing a decades old voting system.

    Under the plan, Washington will develop a new centralized citywide voter registration and an election-management database. Among errors to be corrected are names of deceased residents and thousands of voters whose births erroneously date back to the 1800s.