Federal Court Orders DC Government To Count Vote

Federal Court Orders DC Government To Count Vote
Posted by FoM on September 24, 1999 at 07:56:06 PT
NORML's Weekly Update News
Source: NORML
Sept. 23, 1999, Washington, DC: In a decision announced on Friday, Sept. 17, U.S. District Judge Richard W. Roberts found that the Congressional ban on counting or announcing the District of Columbia initiative vote on the medical use of marijuana is invalid and ordered the DC Board of Elections to count, announce and certify the vote. 
On the following Monday, the Board of Elections announced that the voters of the District gave the initiative 69 percent approval.  The U.S. District Court decision said if the amendment to the DC appropriations bill was intended to block such action, it would have been an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment's protection of political speech. However, the court found that the language banning DC funds "to conduct any ballot initiative" only pertained to the activities on election day, thus avoiding a constitutional ruling.  "(The) court decision is a clear and decisive win for self-government in the District of Columbia," said DC Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D). "The court recognized that our citizens, like citizens in every other state with a referendum, have a right to determine their own laws and set their future. At long last the voters will be heard on this public health issue."  Under the terms of the law granting partial home rule to the District, Congress now has 30 work days to override the initiative, or it becomes law. The Republican controlled Congress is expected to promptly approve an override.  "Voiding and overriding a democratic election is something one might expect from a banana republic, but not the capitol of the free world," said Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director. "Let's hope they come to their senses and permit this law to take effect."  For more information, please contact Keith Stroup, NORML Executive Director at (202) 483-5500. Marijuana's Next Step - 9/24/99's Archived Articles:
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