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Most law students spend the summer between their second and third years of school clerking at firms or interning with nonprofits. Shaun Snyder’s summer project has been a bit more ambitious. He’s trying to take down Washington, D.C., Mayor Anthony Williams. The 23-year-old Georgetown University law student has been at the center of the effort to keep Williams off the ballot for the Sept. 10 Democratic Primary. He was one of the challengers who forced last week’s marathon hearing at the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics. Snyder is that rarest of rare species in local D.C. politics: A Republican activist. He is a former campaign worker for David Catania, the at-large Republican member of the D.C. Council who is also an associate at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. Snyder is a member of the D.C. Republican Committee. He takes a detailed interest in election procedures. Really. “I guess it’s sort of a hobby,” he says. It is what led him, along with former Catania campaign treasurer Mark Sibley, to examine the signatures on Williams’ petitions. Snyder says the forgeries were obvious immediately. “Within seconds, we knew that something was wrong,” he says. Snyder and Sibley began reviewing some of the petitions line by line and took their suspicions to the chairwoman of the D.C. Republican Party, Betsy Werronen, who backed a review of the thousands of signatures Williams had submitted. Meanwhile, D.C. activist Dorothy Brizill was reaching a similar conclusion. The parties decided to join forces, filing a joint challenge and working together at last week’s hearing. Wednesday, Snyder made a brief opening statement, in which he called Williams’ submission “the largest case of election fraud in the history of the District of Columbia.” Heady stuff for a 3L. But reality awaits. Snyder, who is in summer school at the Georgetown University Law Center, still has to deal with criminal law exams. It all has him feeling a bit overwhelmed — as well as a bit outgunned by the mayor’s legal team. “This really has been a burden to me,” he says. “The thing that disgusts me — [the mayor's] attorneys get paid to sit there. None of us get paid.”

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