It is being reported that Senator Bernie Sanders is not going to appear on the primary ballot for Washington, D.C. due to a filing error. The story has been garnering some really serious anger from Bernie supporters, ranging from sheer upset at being denied the ability to vote for their preferred candidate to more baseless conspiracy theories about Bernie suppression.
The background to this story goes something like this: both Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton got in their filing fees and paperwork to the D.C. Democratic Party by the March 16th deadline, but the Party did not alert the D.C. Board of Elections of their filing soon enough.
Now, to begin, let there be no doubt, Bernie Sanders will be on the D.C. Democratic primary ballot.
First, it has to be noted that Anita Bonds, the Chairwoman of the D.C. Democratic Party, does not know why it was reported by the local NBC affiliate that Senator Sanders’ name was left off, but did not mention Secretary Clinton’s. Currently, neither of the candidates are officially on the ballot. There is, however, a citizen challenge against Sanders’ ballot registration in D.C. and there is not one against Clinton.
The prejudgement that Senator Sanders simply won’t be on the ballot now is empirically false. It was a minor clerical error by the Party and will more likely than not be recognized as such by the Board of Elections and fixed without any real hassle. If the Board of Elections does not do this though, the D.C. Council has the ability to pass legislation clarifying that Sanders did all correct filing procedures (including taking the capitalistic route of paying a $2,500 filing fee instead of collecting 1,000 signatures) by the deadline and has qualified to be on the ballot alongside Hillary Clinton (who collected the 1,000 signatures… and also payed $2,500).
Chairwoman Bonds, who is also an at-large member of the D.C. Council, has called the issue a non-issue, saying that the delay has zero impact on the actual outcome of Bernie Sanders’ name being on the D.C. primary ballot.
Fellow council members, including the Council Chairman, have also made statements ensuring that all candidates who filed, as the Washington Post reported, “in good faith before the deadline” will be on the primary ballot.
Don’t get me wrong, there are actual problems with voting suppression going on in this election. This isn’t one of them. Before some rabid individuals lose their minds declaring that the system is rigged! (or whatever it is they say), let’s save energy for things that matter. This really is a non-issue. Unless Bernie Sanders asks to have his name removed, he will be on the ballot. People concerned with this are largely the same people who are perpetually concerned about things like mass voter fraud and wear tin foil hats.