The upcoming November 3, 2020 General Election will look different from any we’ve ever had in DC, and I want to make sure you know how to cast your ballot safely. Ballots are already arriving in mailboxes, so please review this important information on how to vote:
- There’s still time to register to vote! Register before October 13 to receive a mail-in ballot, or register in person at any Vote Center during Early Voting (October 27-November 2) or on Election Day (November 3). Voter registration and proof of address requirements are here. Voter registration forms in languages other than English are here.
- Check your voter registration status and update it to make sure you receive your mail-in ballot.
- You don’t need to request a ballot for the General Election, but you can change the address where you want it sent. The Board will be mailing all registered voters a ballot with a pre-paid return envelope. Follow the instructions included with your ballot!
- #VoteSafe by making a plan. Voters should consult the Board’s new map to find Vote Centers and Ballot Drop Boxes near them. The Board will be opening 32 Vote Centers for Early Voting and more than 90 Election Day Vote Centers, four times the number open during the Primary Election, including several “Super Centers”.
Vote early in one of four ways:
- Return your ballot quickly BY MAIL – no postage required. Leave plenty of time for your ballot to reach the Board. Ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day (November 3), and they must be received by the Board no later than 10 days after Election Day.
- Return your ballot in one of the Board’s 50+ new secure DROP BOXES across the District until 8 p.m. on Election Day
- DROP OFF YOUR BALLOT at any Vote Center from 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. during “Election Week” (October 27-November 2) and from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Election Day
- VOTE EARLY IN PERSON at any Vote Center during “Election Week” (October 27-November 2) from 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
- Voting on Election Day should be everyone’s last resort, but if you choose to do so, plan ahead! Even with the best planning and preparation, there will be lines on November 3rd. Each voting center has reduced capacity because of COVID safety precautions, so they won’t be able to handle as many people at the same time as normally come through. Lines will form. So if you choose to vote on November 3rd, be ready for lines due to social distancing restrictions. Bring water, snacks, and a mask, and dress warmly and comfortably. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Important Dates to Remember
Last week of September:
- Registered voters will begin receiving their mail-in ballots. The Board will continue to mail ballots in waves through October 13.
- Last day to register to vote or update your voter information to receive a mail-in ballot. If you miss this deadline, you can still register to vote in person at a Vote Center during Early Voting or on Election Day (and you’ll be able to vote in person). Register to vote here.
October 27-November 2:
- Early voting during “Election Week”. Polls are open 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Early Voting Vote Center Locations.
- Election Day! Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Election Day Vote Center Locations.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I receive someone else’s ballot? Mark the outer envelope as “Return to Sender.” Don’t destroy another person’s mail.
What if I receive my mail-in ballot, but I want to vote in person? Bring your ballot with you or you can simply destroy your own mailed ballot.
How will I be able to track my mail-in ballot? Once ballots begin to be mailed out, the Board will provide a secure tracking feature on its website. Residents will be able to live-track their ballots as it moves through the US Postal Service system.
By what date should I plan to vote in person if I haven’t received a ballot? The Board recommends that if a voter hasn’t received a ballot in the mail by about October 21, they should make a plan to vote in person, preferably early during Election Week (October 27 – November 2).
What if I’m concerned about voting by mail, but don’t want to vote in person due to COVID risks? Bring your ballot to a secure Drop Box. Beginning October 5th, dozens of Drop Boxes will be located around the city. They are secure and modeled after many states and jurisdictions that have used Drop Boxes safely and securely for years. Ballots will be collected at least twice a day by the Board of Elections staff. This will be the quickest and easiest way to return your ballot if you prefer not to mail your ballot and want to avoid voting in person.
How many Vote Centers will be open during Election Week (October 27-November 2)? The Board will be opening 32 Vote Centers for Early Voting. Voters can vote at any Vote Center in the city, but there will be four Early Vote Centers in Ward 6 – Kennedy Recreation Center, Walker-Jones Education Campus, Sherwood Recreation Center, and Nationals Ballpark.
How many Vote Centers will be open on Election Day? The Board will be opening 90+ Election Day Vote Centers, four times the number open during the Primary Election, including several “Super Centers”. Super Centers are large locations, including Nationals Park and Capital One Arena, that can accommodate more voters at a time while maintaining social distancing. The hope is that by increasing the number of Vote Centers, we can avoid some of the long lines that we saw for the Primary. Voters can vote at any Vote Center.
Do I have to vote in my Ward or at a particular Vote Center? No. Voters can vote at any Vote Center during Election Week or on Election Day, regardless of where they live. Most people are accustomed to voting at their traditional precinct and that will not be required for this General Election. If you are going to vote in-person on Election Day, check the Board of Election’s map and make a plan about what location works best for you.
Do I need to bring ID with me to the polls? Registered voters do not need to present proof of residence to vote. If you will be registering during the Early Voting period or on Election Day, you will need to provide proof of residence in order to register and vote. If you are a first-time voter who registered by mail and did not provide proof of residence when registering, you will need to show proof of residence in order to cast a live (regular) ballot.
Thank you for making a plan to #VoteSafe in this important election. If you have any additional questions, please let me know, and keep wearing that mask!