Apr 16, 2022 - News

Review: Half of Trayon White's signatures for mayoral bid invalid

Trayon White stands with a microphone in front of his supporters holding a banner for his mayoral campaign at a press conference

Council member Trayon White at a press conference on Friday. Photo: Cuneyt Dil/Axios

A preliminary review found that Ward 8 Council member Trayon White narrowly turned in enough signatures last month to make the mayoral race ballot despite deeming half of the signatures his campaign collected invalid, according to a memo by a top elections official.

Why it matters: At-large Council member Robert White's (no relation) mayoral campaign is challenging Trayon's signatures to boot him off the ballot, which would make Robert the sole top challenger to Mayor Muriel Bowser.

The latest: Trayon was in a triumphant mood at a press conference Friday afternoon when his campaign, which has fundraised little after it launched through a surprise Instagram comment last fall, touted the results of the review as a sign he would make the ballot.

The other side: Robert's campaign told Axios it would continue with its challenge to scrutinize Trayon's signatures.

  • The preliminary review was conducted ahead of a board of elections staff meeting and expected public hearing within the next 10 days, when the case is expected to reach a final decision.

Details: Robert's campaign manager, Luz Martinez, filed the challenge with the Board of Elections last month, contesting 2,768 of the 4,391 signatures Trayon's campaign turned in.

  • The registrar of voters, Karen Brooks, found that 2,192 of the contested signatures were invalid, according to a copy of her memo provided to Axios by Trayon's campaign Friday.
  • The review found that hundreds of signatures were invalid because the signer wasn't registered to vote at the address listed on the petition at the time they signed. Hundreds more were found invalid because the signer wasn't a registered voter.

Yes, but: That still leaves Trayon with 2,199 valid signatures — 199 signatures over the minimum needed to qualify for the June Democratic primary.

Between the lines: Trayon told reporters he "saw Robert White as a brother" and was hurt by his challenge, calling it "sneaky." The two were once close and both won their council seats in 2016 with the endorsement of Attorney General Karl Racine, who is backing Robert's mayoral bid.

What's next: The Board of Elections is expected to make a final decision on ballot challenges by April 25.

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