Pro-Marijuana Candidate Fights to Stay on D.C. Ballot

A candidate campaigning on a platform that includes decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana possession is a candidate waging an uphill battle.

Add to that an opponent who wants to throw you off the ballot, the climb gets steeper.

Such is the case of Paul Zukerberg, who is running in the April 23 special election for an at-large seat on the D.C. Council.

Two weeks ago, a supporter of one of Zukerberg's opponents officially disputed the legitimacy of hundreds of voters who signed petitions to put Zukerberg on the ballot.

Today, Zukerberg appeared before the D.C. Board of Elections in an effort to beat back the challenge.

Zukerberg, an attorney with over 30 years of courtroom experience, says that the database used by the Board of Elections is flawed. Zukerberg contends that the Board failed to cross-reference address changes against U.S. Postal Service data as required by law.

“I have the valid signatures and I can prove that the mistake is in the [Board's] database," said Zukerberg. “I know where these people live. I’ve been to their homes.”

The Board will rule on the matter Monday, February 25th.

In an ironic turn of events, the challenge against Zukerberg was filed by a volunteer for Elissa Silverman's campaign. Silverman has said that she supports the challenge.

Silverman was among a group of activists who sought to place an initiative on the ballot in 2012.

The Board of Elections ruled against Silverman's group, citing an insufficient number of petition signers. Some of the names were deemed ineligible because of address mismatches.
Silverman and her group appealed the Board's decision. Part of their argument is that the data used by the Board is faulty.

In a statement, Zukerberg said, "How can Silverman argue in court that [the Board's] database is flawed, yet exploit the same flaw to toss me from the ballot? The so-called, self-described 'integrity candidate' is not fooling anyone."

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