Image by Joe Flood used with permission.

More signature fraud as paid family leave takes center stage in the DC Council at-large race, Hogan maintains a commanding lead though Jealous maintains a popular platform, Virginia Democrats and Republicans battle over redistricting, and more in our election link roundup.

Paid family leave and the independent at-large seat
Progressive DC Council member Elissa Silverman led efforts to craft and pass paid family leave legislation in 2016. This legislation, praised by left-leaning advocacy organizations and policy analysts, has upset some in the DC business community because it is funded through a $250 million annual tax on employers. Insurance agent and onetime DC banking commissioner S. Kathryn Allen is running a campaign on dismantling the program, and has become the “business-friendly” alternative and the most serious challenger to Silverman. Allen insists she supports paid leave, but would prefer government incentives rather than mandates. (DC Line / Graham Vyse)

Signature issue
It is unclear, however, if Allen will ultimately be on the ballot. Allen, like Traci Hughes before her, has run into issues around forged signatures on her petition to get on the ballot in November. Allen, like Hughes, claims that her campaign is the victim of fraud committed by a company that she hired to help her gather signatures. Unlike Hughes, however, Allen believes she has enough valid signatures to remain on the ballot. Silverman is challenging this and is hoping to have Allen removed. (District Dig / Jeffrey Anderson)

Two-thirds of ANC elections are uncontested
Only a third of DC’s 296 advisory neighborhood commission (ANC) seats currently have contested races. ANCs play an important role in DC neighborhoods, making recommendations on many crucial urbanism issues such as the allocation of street space, land use, and restaurant licensing. (DC Line / Chris Kain)

Hogan maintains his strong lead
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan maintains a significant lead over Democratic challenger Ben Jealous, according to the first independent poll of the general election since the June primary. According to the poll, Jealous is underperforming Hogan’s 2014 challenger, former Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, in Maryland's key Democratic strongholds. Nearly two-thirds of surveyed Marylanders believe that the state is heading in the “right direction.” (Maryland Matters / Bruce Deputy)

Jealous’ narrow path
While Jealous is behind in all the polls (including his own), he is running on a popular platform in a year that Democrats are expected to be extremely motivated. Pollsters hired by Jealous’ campaign found that the race narrowed significantly after voters were given a briefing on the candidates. The poll also found that many voters remained unfamiliar with both Jealous and his platform. The Jealous campaign believes that if it can redirect election coverage on issues that are both popular and motivating to the Democratic base, he will have a shot. I’m sure the fact that Jealous lost his cool and swore at a reporter over being called a Socialist will help things. (Maryland Matters / Bruce DePuyt)

The Sierra Club endorses Elrich
The Montgomery County Sierra Club endorsed Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich in his bid to become the next County executive. The environmental club had endorsed Roger Berliner in the primary. The group praised Elrich for his record on environmental issues, including his support for bus rapid-transit. The Sierra Club also endorsed council candidates Andrew Friedson (District 1), Gabe Albornoz (at-large), and Sidney Katz (District 3 incumbent). (Post / Jennifer Barrios)

Northam calls for a redistricting special session
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is calling a special session of the General Assembly on August 30 to redraw legislative districts that a federal court ruled had been illegally racially gerrymandered. Democratic candidates received 54% of the House vote in 2017, and yet Democrats still ended up narrowly losing the chamber. Virginia Republicans have appealed the decision to the US Supreme Court and have asked the District Court to suspend the current October 30 redistricting deadline. (Post / Gregory Schneider)