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Voting & Elections Toolkits

Updates for November 2020 Election

Last updated 9/12/2020

Board of Elections / Vote Safe DC

D.C. Early Voting Center Info

Absentee ballot: You do not need to request an absentee ballot. All voters will receive a mail-in ballot at their registered address beginning the first week in October.    Click here for:  Absentee ballot info 

 

Voter Registration in the District of Columbia (D.C.)

Eligibility

To register to vote, you must:
 
  • Be a United States Citizen
  • Be a resident of the District of Columbia (You may not vote in an election in the District of Columbia unless you have been a resident for at least 30 days immediately prior to the election)
  • Not claim voting residence or the right to vote in another U.S. state or territory
  • Be at least 16 years old (You may pre-register to vote if you are at least 16 years old. You may vote in a primary election if you are at least 17 years old and you will be at least 18 years old by the next general election. You may vote in a general or special election if you are at least 18 years old.)
  • Not be in jail serving a sentence for conviction of a crime which is a felony in the District of Columbia
  • Not have been found by a court to be legally incompetent to vote 
 
Voter Registration Deadlines
 
All voter registration applications and updates submitted online and by mail must be received by the Board by no later than the 21st day before the election in which you wish to vote. If you submit a voter registration application or update online or by mail and it is received after the 21st day before the election, your application will not be processed until after the election.
 
If you submit your application in person at the Board of Elections or another voter registration agency, your application should be received no later than the day before the start of the early voting period. Key dates and deadlines in the upcoming election cycle. 
 
Same Day Registration
 
If the deadlines for the receipt of voter registration applications and updates submitted online, by mail, or in person at the Board of Elections or another voter registration agency have passed, you can still register during early voting or on Election Day. To register when you vote, you must provide proof of residence that shows your name and current District of Columbia address. Acceptable forms of proof of residence include: 
  • A copy of a current and valid government-issued photo identification
  • A utility bill for water, gas, electricity, cable, internet, telephone, or cellular phone service issued no earlier than 90 days before the election
  • A savings, checking, credit, or money market account statement from a bank or credit union issued no earlier than 90 days before the election
  • A paycheck, stub, or earning statement that includes the employer’s name, address, and telephone number and was issued no earlier than 90 days before the election
  • A government-issued document or check from a federal or District agency, other than the Board of Elections, issued no earlier than 90 days before the election
  • A current residential lease or rental agreement
  • An occupancy statement from a District homeless shelter issued no earlier than 90 days before the election
  • A tuition or housing bill from a District of Columbia college or university issued for the current academic or housing term


Online Registration:

Complete and submit a voter registration form online or download the free mobile app, Vote4DC, at least 21 days before an election. Vote4DC is available on iOS and Android devices.

 By mail:

Print, fill out, and sign a Voter Registration Application or find one at designated locations such as DCBOE, public libraries, Metropolitan Police Department precincts, or fire stations.
 
If you are registering to vote in the District of Columbia for the first time and decide to submit your application by mail, make sure to include a photocopy of a CURRENT proof of residence. Acceptable proofs of residence include:

  • Current and valid District of Columbia DMV-issued ID
  • Government check or paycheck*
  • Bank statement*
  • Current utility bill*
  • Student housing statement/tuition bill
  • Homeless shelter occupancy statement 
  • Current lease
  • Other government-issued document showing your name and address

*The issue, bill, or statement date must be within 90 days of Election Day

Your application must be received by DCBOE at least 21 days before Election Day. 

 In-person
DC offers Same-Day Registration at Early Voting Centers and at the polls on Election Day. Bring an acceptable proof of address (listed above) when you go to vote OR  visit DCBOE, DC DMV locations, or one of the following National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) agencies in the District to register or update your voter registration until Early Voting begins:

  • Office on Aging
  • Department of Human Services
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Corrections
  • Department of Youth Services
  • Department of Developmental and Rehabilitative Services
  • Department of Health Care Finance
  • Department of Park and Recreation
  • Department on Disability Services
  • District of Columbia Public Library
  • District of Columbia Public Schools
  • Health Benefit Exchange Authority

Voter registration forms are also available at Armed Forces recruitment offices and local universities and colleges.

Updating registration      

 Visit www.dcboe.org and click "confirm your voter registration." You can also call our offices at (202) 727-2525, Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-4:45 pm.

Cancelling registration

Any registered voter may cancel their registration by completing and signing the Request to Cancel Voter Registration form, and returning it by mail or in person to the District of Columbia Board of Elections at 1015 Half St SE, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20003.

Request to Cancel Voter Registration (PDF) form.

ID Requirements for D.C. Voters

ID Requirements for Registration

ll voter registration applications and updates submitted online and by mail must be received by the Board by no later than the 21st day before the election in which you wish to vote. If you submit a voter registration application or update online or by mail and it is received after the 21st day before the election, your application will not be processed until after the election.

Online Registration

  You can complete the entire registration process  through the web portal if you have a current and valid Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)-issued identification (ID) number AND you consent to the use of your digital signature on file at the DMV as your signature for this application. 
 
If you do not have a DMV-issued ID or you do not consent to the use of your signature on file at the DMV as your signature for your application, you can still complete the voter registration application online, but you must then print and sign the application, and return it to the D.C. Board of Elections:

 You can also complete the entire registration process electronically on your mobile device (smart phone or tablet) by downloading and using the mobile application, Vote 4 DC, and signing your application on your device screen with your fingertip or a stylus.

 

Mail-in Registration

 You can register by mail or in person at:

D.C. Board of Elections
1015 Half Street, SE
Suite 750
Washington, DC 20003

ID Requirements for Voting

First-Time Voters

If you are registering to vote in the District of Columbia for the first time and you submit your application by mail or online, you must either include a copy of one of the following documents with your application or present a copy of the document the first time you vote: 
  • A copy of a current and valid government-issued photo identification that shows your name and address
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, or paycheck that shows your name and address (dated no earlier than 90 days before the date upon which you mail your application or, if you do not submit proof by mail or online, 90 days before the date you vote)
  • Any other government-issued document that shows your name and address 

 

All Other Voters

Check your voting status
Update your voter information

Casting a Ballot in D.C.

Important Dates

 

June 2, 2020 primary election

November 3, 2020 general election

 

ll voter registration applications and updates submitted online and by mail must be received by the Board by no later than the 21st day before the election in which you wish to vote. If you submit a voter registration application or update online or by mail and it is received after the 21st day before the election, your application will not be processed until after the election.

 

Absentee voting

Opening/closing dates

The District of Columbia allows all eligible registered voters to vote by mail for any reason.
 
Use the online or printable form to request an absentee ballot, or:
you can use any form of written and signed communication requesting an absentee ballot is acceptable. Please be sure that any written request for an absentee ballot includes the following information:
  • Your name
  • The election(s) for which you are requesting a ballot
  • The address at which you are registered
  • Your current residence address, if different from above
  • Your contact information (telephone number and/or email address)
  • Your date of birth
  • Mailing address to which ballot should be delivered
  • Your original signature (An absentee ballot request sent electronically will be considered to contain an original signature)
If you choose to submit a printed or written absentee ballot request, you may deliver your request to the D.C. Board of Elections: 
  • By mail or in person at
D.C. Board of Elections
1015 Half Street, SE
Suite 750
Washington, D.C. 20003 
You can also complete the entire absentee ballot request process electronically on your mobile device (smart phone or tablet) by downloading and using our mobile application, Vote 4 DC, and signing your application on your device screen with your fingertip or a stylus.
 
Requests for absentee ballots must be received by no later than the 7th day before an election.
You will receive your absentee ballot by mail. Instructions on how to vote and return your ballot will be included along with your ballot. 

Your voted ballot must be received by the Board by no later than 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. 
 
Track the status of your absentee ballot.
If you are concerned that you may not be able to receive or cast your ballot in time for it to be counted, please contact the D.C. Board of Elections at 202.727.2525.
 

Military voters and voters who reside outside the U.S.
Information for military and overseas service people.

 

Who is eligible to use an absentee ballot?

D.C. offers “no excuse” absentee voting. Please contact the Board during each election season to find out the deadline to request your Absentee Ballot. All ballots must be received by DCBOE by 8:00 pm on Election Day. Ballots can be mailed or delivered in-person to DCBOE offices, dropped off at any Early Voting Center until the published deadline, or dropped off at any polling place on Election Day. To request an Absentee Ballot, download, print, sign, and mail an Absentee Ballot Application to the Board. 

Polling places and hours

In D.C. you must vote at your designated polling place.

If you vote during Early Voting, you may vote at any Early Voting Center and you will be able to cast a live (regular) ballot for your precinct (if otherwise qualified).

You are assigned a polling place based on home address. List of polling places

 

Rides to the polls

Many organizations offer free rides to polling places. Some of these include:

Help for voters with disabilities

More information for voters with disabilities.

DCBOE provides numerous voting options for senior citizens and people with disabilities. On Election Day, senior citizens and people with disabilities can vote in-person at their assigned polling place, where Voter Assistance Clerks will be present to help. In addition to in-person voting, DCBOE offers curbside voting, early voting, absentee voting, and a change of polling place.

 

Accessibility statement

Ballots

Where to get more info on candidates

Latest news updates (via Twitter)

Elections

Primaries vs. general elections

  • Primary elections are conducted to select each party’s candidates in the general election.
  • To vote in a primary election in the District of Columbia, you must be registered to vote with the Democratic, Republican or D.C. Statehood Green Party. (Source: Votesmart.org).

Jurisdiction

Offices/Measures That May Appear on the Ballot

source: https://www.dcboe.org/dcboe/media/PDFFiles/Elected-Officals-List-10-30-19.pdf

Federal

President/Vice-President (elected every four years; next election in 2020)

Delegate to the U.S. Representatives

Shadow U.S. Senators and Shadow U.S. Representative

 

Ward Members

At-large Member of the Council of the District of Columbia

Ward Member of the Council of the District of Columbia (Wards 2, 4, 7, & 8)
Municipal

 District of Columbia State Board of Education

Mayor of the District of Columbia

Attorney General for the District of Columbia

Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners

 

 

Who are the candidates, and what else is on the ballot?

Draft calendars and ballot information

Important Dates

June 2, 2020: primary election

November 3, 2020: general election

All other dates regarding voting and elections in D.C.

Who conducts elections?

 

The District of Columbia Board of Elections (DCBOE) is the independent agency of the District government responsible for the administration of elections, ballot access, and voter registration. DCBOE consists of three active Board members, an Executive Director, a General Counsel, and a number of support staff who run the day-to-day operations of the Agency.

Voter Bill of Rights

 

More information on voting in D.C.

The Constitution, until amended or until DC becomes a state or part of a state, gives Congress exclusive legislative authority over DC in Article I, Section 8, Clause 17. Over DC's 200-year history, Congress has passed laws to modify the local governance structure numerous times. In 1973, Congress granted DC limited Home Rule authority. Congress oversees DC through four Congressional subcommittees, four committees, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the President. Congress not only reviews and can modify DC's local budget, but it can also annul any law it does not agree with. Therefore, DC does not have true local self-government. In addition, the President appoints DC's local judges and is in charge of DC's court and prison system. The federal government prosecutes most crimes, not DC. DC has been denied these Constitutional rights which are guaranteed to citizens living in states: equal representation in the Senate under the 17th Amendment and House of Representatives under Article 1, the right to a republican form of government under Article 4, the right to all powers and privileges under the 9th and 10th amendments, and equal protection under the 14th Amendment. DC citizens were prohibited from voting in Presidential elections until the 23rd amendment to the Constitutional was ratified in 1961. They have never been permitted full voting rights in Congress.

Where to go with complaints about candidates or how elections are conducted

Contact the  U.S. Department of Justice Election through its Report Site.

Utilize the Department of Elections website

Campaign finance

The D.C. Office of Campaign Finance covers regulation, enforcement, services and more.

How to contact your elected officials:

 

General Resources on Voting and Elections

General Resources on Voting and Elections


Hotlines


1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)

1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (en Español)

1-888-API-VOTE (Asian multilingual assistance)


Voter Registration & Election Day Resources

Find useful voter information including:

  • Local Election Office and Contact Information
  • Address, Telephone and Email for Local Election Offices
  • Upcoming Federal Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Upcoming State Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Eligibility Requirements
  • Identification Requirements
  • Voter Materials Transmission Options
  • State Lookup Tools – Am I Registered? Where’s my Ballot?

Population-Specific information and Resources

Voting Rights: Laws, Cases, Policy

Voter Engagement

Voter Education

Campaign Finance/Funding Information

Primary Sources, Lesson Plans & Exhibits

Disclaimer

Librarians from the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT), a Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA), created these reference guides. These guides are intended for informational purposes only and are not in any way intended to be legal advice.

These guides are designated with a Creative Commons license and re-use and modification for educational purposes is encouraged.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.