News & Press Releases

October 2, 2012

Wells Introduces Legislation to Modernize and Improve DC Voter Registration

Today, I am introducing the "Voter Registration Access and Modernization Amendment Act of 2012". This bill would amend the DC Election Code of 1955. When it comes to modernizing access to the ballot box and exercising the right to vote, the District has made great strides in recent years by adding same-day voter registration and early voting centers in each Ward.

voter-registration.jpgHowever, we remain woefully out-of-date, and out-of-style, in how an individual can register to vote and update their voter information with a name change or change of address. States across the country are stepping into the 21st century and creating secure online tools for voter registration.

12 states have added online voter registration in the last few years. Just a few examples of how online voter registration improves voter access include:

- In the first week that online voter registration went live in California, 110,000 people registered to vote.

- Last month, Nevada's online voter registration system averaged nearly 1,000 people per day either registering to vote or updating their voter information. In the last 6 months, a grand total of 15,000 newly registered voters came through online registration.

- In the two months after Maryland started offering online voter registration, over 22,000 individuals registered to vote and updated their voter information.

And how does DC stack up? Last week, on September 25th, around the country bi-partisan organizations supported a National Register to Vote Day. Nearly 300,000 people registered to vote on a single day. In the District, BOE reports that they received only 240 contacts that day - including both new registrations and individuals updating their information - through their hard copy paper application.

The legislation introduced today will not only bring the District's voter registration process into the 21st century, but more importantly, will remove barriers that many voters have in registering or simply updating their address information and provide greater access to the ballot box on Election Day.

To read a copy of the legislation, click here: Wells, Online Voter Registration.pdf

To read a copy of the press release, click here: 2012-10-02, Tommy Wells Introduces Legislation to Modernize DC Voter Registration.pdf

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October 1, 2012

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

by Anne Phelps

On Sept. 19th, Councilmember Wells offered a ceremonial resolution declaring this week - Sept 30th through Oct. 6th 2012 -- "Banned Books Week" in the District of Columbia. With this effort, the Council joined communities across the county in celebrating the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider objectionable or offensive.

Banned Books.jpgBanned Books Weeks is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and celebrating those who stand up to censorship. Throughout the years, many groups - sometimes even elected officials - have sought to prohibit residents from access to a particular book at their public library or in their schools. It is to the credit of librarians, teachers, students, and other members of the public that many books targeted for censorship remain available in those communities.

Take a look out the American Library Association's list of most frequently challenged books and then flex your first amendment rights with a visit the DC Public Library to check out a few selections

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September 28, 2012

Southwest Arts Fest This Saturday!

If it's a Saturday in September, then its time for another Ward 6 Festival! This Saturday, make sure you stop by the Southwest Arts Fest!

Click here for a map and full details: SW Arts Fest.pdf.

Or, click on the image below for a larger version with all the details you need!

SW Arts Fest.jpg

September 20, 2012

Wells Welcomes Mayor's Effort to Join the Fight for Ethics and Campaign Finance Reform; Speaks at Ward 3 Democrats Meeting Tonight to Outline Additional Proposals

Tommy Wells Welcomes Mayor's Effort to Join the Fight for Ethics and Campaign Finance Reform

Speaks at Ward 3 Democrats Meeting Tonight to Outline Additional Proposals

(Washington, D.C.) - On Thursday, September 20, 2012, Councilmember Tommy Wells will address the Ward 3 Democrats to endorse elements of the Mayor and Attorney General's campaign finance reform proposal and will call on the Council to pass several critical measures to restore public trust and confidence in the District's elected leaders.

"I'm thrilled to have the Mayor join the fight to create real and meaningful campaign finance reform. The Mayor's proposal includes thoughtful reforms and at the end of the day, represents the minimum of what the Council should pass this fall," stated Wells.

Wells added, "Time is starting to run out. The Council should move quickly to pass reforms before this session comes to a close in December. Given the crisis in confidence and public trust, passing anything less than the Mayor's proposal is frankly a failure in leadership. I believe we can and should do even more. We can't afford to punt on ethics reform once again."

In addition to giving his support to the Mayor and Attorney General's August 28th proposal, Councilmember Wells will announce several further improvements that he will put before the Council this fall, including:

- To help stamp out the "pay-to-play" relationship with elected leaders, prohibit corporate contributions to candidates and elected officials.

- To further combat the "pay-to-play" culture at the Wilson Building, implement a strict prohibition on campaign contributions by registered lobbyists and make crystal clear who elected officials serve.

- To eliminate conflicts of year-round fundraising while doing the business of the city, end "constituent services funds" since the majority of the funds are not spent on constituents.

- Finally, to ensure that our elected officials on the Council make known that public service is their number one priority, prohibit outside employment for all Councilmembers.

The Ward 3 Democrats will meet tonight, September 20, 2012 at St. Columbia's Church, 4201 Albemarle Street, NW, and Councilmember Wells will be addressing the organization at 7:30 pm.





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Wells to Create Temporary Park in Front of John A Wilson Building

Councilmember Tommy Wells to Celebrate PARK(ing) Day
Creating Temporary Park in Front of John A. Wilson Building

(Washington, D.C.) -- On Friday, September 21st, Councilmember Tommy Wells will celebrate national PARK(ing) Day by converting parking spaces on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the John A. Wilson Building into a temporary urban park.  Chairman Phil Mendelson and Councilmembers Mary M. Cheh, Kenyan McDuffie, Muriel Bowser and Michael A. Brown have all joined Mr. Wells in contributing their parking spaces for the day-long event. 

The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat.  At sites throughout our region, people will be transforming regular curbside parking spaces into temporary urban parks and public spaces.

Councilmember Wells' office is working with Washington Parks and People ( to create this temporary urban park and open space downtown. The asphalt parking strip on Pennsylvania Avenue will be converted into a small park that includes sod grass, picnic tables, benches, local plants, a reading room, bicycle parking, and a wealth of information about current plans and initiatives to improve public space in DC. 

For more information about the national PARK(ing) Day effort, please visit,


Approximate Schedule:

7:00am --- Set-Up

9:00-9:30am ---Yoga -- bring your mat or just enjoy the grass (by Suzie Wnek from BicycleSPACE Karma yoga program & Tranquil Space)

9:30-11:00am --- Open Use

11:00-11:30am --- Story time for downtown families -- DC Public Library

11:30am-1:00pm --- Picnic tables to be used for lunch

1:00-1:30pm --- Exercise/Fitness Lesson -- DC Dept. of Parks and Recreation

1:30-2:00pm --- Fruit Pie Demonstration - Common Good City Farm

2:00-4:00pm --- Open Use

4:00pm --- Clean-Up

Throughout the day, the District Department of Environment will provide demonstration materials and information related to green infrastructure and stormwater management.  DC Public Libraries will be on hand for residents to sign up for library cards so you can get your urban parks reading materials.



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September 18, 2012

Barracks Row Fall Festival, Saturday, September 22nd


BRMS.jpgBarracks Row Main Street Capitol Hill is hosting this year's Barracks Row Fall Festival on Capitol Hill on Saturday, September 22, 2012. The festival now ten years old, opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m.

This year's festival includes:

Military Chefs Cook-Off - all branches of the US armed forces, including the White House, compete for Top Chef trophy awarded by Commandant of the Marine Corps.

DC State Fair.jpegDC State Fair joins Barracks Row Fall Festival this year showcasing several competitions including Funkiest-looking Vegetable Grown in DC, Best Home Brew, Best Bike Accessory, Best Pie, etc.

Marines from the past - meet a dozen Marines dressed in uniforms from Revolutionary War to today's desert camo. Let them tell you how those wars were fought!

For the kids -  petting zoo, art, crafts, and contests - don't miss the pumpkin seed spitting event! Cartoons at the renovated Meader Theater (National Community Church) run all day long. 

Barracks Row Festival.jpgAerialists from The Trapeze School New York perform on yards of bright silk at tree top height.

• At 1:30 p.m. 16 members of all-girl Island Band, Batala, drums up the spirit of the Caribbean.

• At 2:00 pm meet the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders for autographs and photo-op!

• At 2:30 p.m. at main stage swing band, Blue Sky brings back the sounds of Frank Sinatra and Tommy Dorsey; free dance instruction, too.

• The Georgetown Chimes, arrive on stage at 3:30 p.m. for acapella concert.

• The Home of the Commandant and Marine Barracks Washington open for docent- lead tours from noon until 4:00 p.m.

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