The District of Columbia election law provides a mechanism that prevents one party from winning all the seats on the Washington, D.C., city council. Each election, there are two open at-large seats on the city council, but no party can run more than a single nominee. Therefore, by default, the Democratic Party can’t win all the seats, and there is always an opportunity for an independent or a nominee of some other party to win one seat each election year.
However, the intent of the law is evaded when Democrats change their affiliation to “independent.” Several sitting Democrats on the City Council say they are thinking of switching to independent status to run for the at-large seat. Although party primaries are over (they were held April 1, earlier than the primaries of any states other than Illinois and Texas), independent candidate petitions are not due until August 6. According to this story, the Republican Party is threatening to sue anyone who is now a Democrat, who switched to independent status and files for one of the at-large seats later this year.