- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The D.C. Board of Elections has kicked business-favorite candidate S. Kathryn Allen off the November ballot after an inquiry into the signatures on her petition.

Incumbent candidate Elissa Silverman, an independent, began raising questions about Ms. Allen’s petition for office earlier this summer, which included names like “Malcolm X” and an advisory neighborhood commissioner who was out of the country. The board announced its decision to remove Ms. Allen from the ballot late Monday for having only 2,426 valid signatures on her petitions, fewer than the 3,000 minimum.

“D.C. residents need to be able to trust our elections process,” Ms. Silverman’s campaign said in a statement after the midnight results. “The idea behind the nominating petitions is for a candidate to demonstrate some grassroots support among voters, and that should not be faked.”

Ms. Allen is an insurance company owner and first-time candidate, with former Mayor Tony Williams and former D.C. Councilmember David Catania at the helm of her campaign. The team is a favorite of the business community and out-raised Ms. Silverman nearly two to one, according to the most recent finance reports.

She challenges Ms. Silverman, who drafted progressive legislation guaranteeing paid family medical leave this year, a bill that levies a 0.6 percent business tax. During an interview with “The Kojo Nnamdi Show,” Ms. Allen repeatedly misstated that the tax was “6 percent.”

“We entered this campaign with good intentions and good faith,” Ms. Allen’s campaign said in a Monday statement. “It is extremely unfortunate that our decision to contract with a petition circulator cast a shadow on an otherwise optimistic and unified campaign.”

Previously, Ms. Allen blamed the drama on a contractor she paid to gather names for her petition. Mr. Williams told NBC 4 he was “disappointed” that she outsourced the work, and that she would learn from it. The former mayor was once fined $277,000 for a number of fake signatures on his own 2002 mayoral petitions, later winning the election as a write-in candidate.

The contractor employed by Ms. Allen was “Strategies for Change Group LLC,” run by Khalil Thompson. Mr. Thompson formerly worked for current D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser as a “talent acquisition liaison” during her transition and before that, a Ward 4 community liaison, according to a copy of his resume obtained by District Dig.

Mr. Thompson didn’t immediately respond to requests for comments.

Earlier in August, another at-large candidate, Traci Hughes, had to drop out from the race after finding thousands of the signatures she paid Mr. Thompson’s company to collect were also fake.

The D.C. Board of Elections referred Ms. Allen’s case to D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine.

The board rejected many of Ms. Allen’s signatures in a hearing last week. But the final blow was when one of workers gathering signatures for Ms. Allen admitted he was not responsible for 330 of the names he said he collected — a violation of D.C. law that comes with a penalty $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail.

In November, D.C. residents can still vote for Ms. Allen as a write-in candidate. But the ballot will only list Ms. Silverman along with the five other at-large candidates: incumbent Anita Bonds, and challengers Denise Hicks, Rustin Lewis, Ralph Chittams Sr., and David Schwartzman.

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