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(Afro) — A decision handed down by the District of Columbia’s Board of Elections and Ethics (BOEE) stands in the way of more than 70,000 registered independent voters switching affiliations in order to vote as Democrats in the Sept. 14 primary.

As a result, the board’s mandate has put a damper on Mayor Adrian Fenty’s campaign efforts, which had hoped to win over the extra votes in his hotly contested bid for re-election.

BOEE spokeswoman Alysoun McLaughlin told the AFRO the board’s decision hinged on the fact that prior to this year, voter rolls closed 30 days before the elections. She said that no one who was not already on the rolls was able to register as new, or to change their party registration.

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