District of Columbia

DC Council Votes to Allow Bernie Sanders on Democratic Primary Ballot

The District's primary is June 14

Bernie Sanders will appear on the Democratic primary ballot in D.C. after lawmakers approved legislation Tuesday clarifying that the presidential candidate met the filing deadline.

Sanders was in jeopardy of not appearing on the ballot because of a clerical error, but the D.C. Council passed emergency legislation exempting Democratic candidates from the deadline for the June 2016 primary. 

"This is about voter access to all the presidential candidates," Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said about the unanimous vote. 

Sanders' campaign paid a fee to the city's Democratic Party to get on the ballot, but the party didn't submit paperwork to the D.C. Board of Elections until the following day, one day after the filing deadline, as News4's Tom Sherwood was first to report.

A local Democratic activist filed a challenge arguing that Sanders had missed the filing deadline. No voters appealed the other Democratic candidates' ballot eligibility before the deadline to do so.

D.C. Democratic Party chairwoman Anita Bonds said the party accepts filing fees after the elections board is closed for the day and historically has handed in paperwork the next day.

Before the vote Tuesday, several Council members expressed concerns about passing a law to allow one candidate ballot access. Council member Vincent Orange criticized Sanders for paying a $2,500 fee to appear on the ballot in lieu of collecting signatures. Hillary Clinton did both.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who endorsed Clinton, said she would approve the Council legislation. 

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The District's primary is set for June 14.

Stay with News4 for more details on this developing story.

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