Image by nevermindtheend licensed under Creative Commons.

More than 180 candidates for Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) seats in DC filled out our questionnaire this year, explaining their views on everything from housing, to buses and bikes, to local neighborhood controversies. You can read their responses, and help us figure out which ones will best support urbanist values!

A small office with a big role

Every two years, DC voters elect Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners in nonpartisan races on the November ballot. An ANC is a neighborhood council of unpaid, elected representatives who meet monthly and weigh in with the government about issues that are important to the community. They don’t have any legislative power, but wield a lot of influence when it comes to issues urbanists care about.

In particular, ANCs are very important on housing and transportation. An ANC’s opposition to new housing, retail, bike lanes, bus improvements, etc. can stymie or significantly delay valuable projects, while good ANCs can guide government and private actions towards positive ways to improve the neighborhood and rally resident support.

These races are woefully undercovered, and it’s often hard to figure out what your local candidate thinks about neighborhood issues. What is more, races often hinge on a small handful of votes. In 2016, one race was won by 13 votes.

From 2016 election.

Each district is supposed to encompass about 2,000 voters. There are 40 commissions citywide, 296 districts, and this year over 400 candidates on the ballot (some are unopposed, some districts have no candidates, and some have four (!) candidates).

Greater Greater Washington’s ANC endorsement process

In 2016 we endorsed over 50 candidates, and 30 won their races. This year, we’re undergoing the same extensive evaluation process, and you can lend a hand.

Our first step was hosting public forums for prospective ANC candidates to educate them on our issues and to provide them with information on how to run for office. Over 120 people attended!

This summer, we crowdsourced a questionnaire for ANC candidates, asking readers to submit questions they hoped candidates would answer about hyper-local issues. We recently sent this questionnaire to all of the ANC candidates on the ballot and received over 150 responses.

You can see them and search for your local candidates in the form below.

Our next step is evaluate the candidates on all of the competitive races this year (about 100 races). Our team of volunteers on the elections committee is starting that work now; here is where we could use your help!

Here’s what you can do:

  • You'll need to know your ward, ANC, and single member district (SMD). If you don’t know those, click here to look them up.
  • Open up the responses for your ward:
Ward 1 Ward 2 Ward 3 Ward 4
Ward 5 Ward 6 Ward 7 Ward 8
  • Read the responses for a candidate and give your feedback using the form below (you can also click here)
  • Repeat for as many other candidates as you want to do. Try other ANCs, other wards — all input is helpful!

(One caveat: We copied and pasted the responses from the survey into these PDFs, and some of the formatting got messed up. Please disregard any formatting quirks. Thanks.)

To be clear — our elections team is not going to decide an endorsement by tallying up these ratings. Rather, the ratings and our own evaluation together will help us make a decision. Your input can be incredibly valuable to help us understand things like whether a candidate is being honest about their views, or if they trying to play both sides of an issue. Help inform us about factors we might not be aware of (there are, after all, a lot of neighborhoods), and give us your take!

Please get your feedback in by Friday, September 21. We hope to make our endorsement decisions by early October.

Create your own user feedback survey

Want to review another candidate? Click here to submit multiple times.

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To advance urbanist principles throughout the Washington region, GGWash wants to spread the word about qualified, forward-thinking candidates. But election coverage like what is provided above involves considerable staff resources. We need to raise $5,000 from our readers to fund our election coverage activities. Can you help?

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