Douglas Smith recall, District of Columbia (2012)
A vote about whether to recall Douglas Brown from his elected position as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in Washington, D.C. took place on February 28th, 2012. Smith was recalled from his seat. The election was initially too close to call due to uncounted absentee ballots. Smith, who represented district 4B04 in Ward 4 prior to his recall, was serving his first term.
Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners were created in 1974 by referendum. ANCs are considered to be grassroots representatives of the people to the D.C. government. There have been four recalls of ANCs: Theodore Jacobs of district 2E03 in 1993, Raymond Dickey of district 5A04 in 1999, Paul Montague of district 4B07 in 2003, and Charles E. Matiella of district 1A08 in 2003.
Reasons for recall
A group called Concerned Citizens of Brightwood East was behind the recall effort. The group's president, John Beverly, said, "We have had a lack of representation from our ANC. We have not had any response from him. We have not had any communications with him. He does not report to us what is going on in the ANC. We have a lot of citizens who are seniors and retirees and they do not have access to the Internet. Smith does not print flyers to inform us of anything that is going on and we need more professional responsiveness to our needs." Residents also expressed unease with Smith's alleged support for a Wal-Mart in the District. Beverly said, "There was an important meeting that took place last year about the Wal-Mart and he did not tell the residents about it. When some of us tried to contact him about that, he could not get through because his voice mail was full."
Smith said, "I believe that the recall is wrong and it is not a fair effort. The reasoning behind it is not sound. I have done nothing to justify a recall."
Path to the ballot
Residents needed to successfully gather signatures from 10% of registered voters in district 4B04, or about 200 signatures. The recall election took place on February 28th, 2012.
Preliminary results indicated that there were 75 votes in favor of recalling Smith and 59 votes in favor of retaining Smith. However, 16 absentee and 8 special ballots have yet to be counted, meaning that it is unclear whether or not Smith has been recalled. When votes were certified in March, Smith was recalled.
- Laws governing recall in the District of Columbia
- Political recall efforts, 2012
- City council recalls
- Washington Informer, "Recall Election Set for Ward 4 ANC Commissioner", February 22, 2012
- Washington Examiner, "D.C. neighborhood politician recalled from office", March 12, 2012
- DCist, "Recall of Ward 4 ANC Commissioner Too Close to Call", February 29, 2012
- Washington City Paper, "What’s Behind ANC Commish Recall? Walmart!", February 29, 2012