The D.C. Board of Elections plans to mail a ballot to each of the city’s more than 500,000 registered voters in early October and expand in-person early voting to give voters options amid the coronavirus pandemic:

D.C. residents can use no-excuse absentee ballots to safely vote from home. They can also avoid Election Day crowds by voting early and in person at 32 polling locations from Oct. 27 through Nov. 2.

Beginning in October, voters will be able to track the status of their mail-in ballots on the Board of Elections website.

The Board of Elections will use at least 95 of its usual 144 polling places on Election Day because smaller venues cannot accommodate social distancing.

Get more information at

How do I register to vote?

You can download a registration application from the Board of Elections website and email, mail or fax it back, or deliver it in person. If you can’t download the application, request one from the Board of Elections.

Applications submitted online or by mail must be received by Oct. 13. You can also register in person during early voting and as late as Election Day, which is Nov. 3, 2020.

How can I get an absentee ballot? Are there important deadlines?

All registered voters will be mailed a ballot and a postage-paid return envelope. You can also download an absentee ballot request from Completed ballots must be postmarked by Election Day and must arrive no later than Nov. 13 — 10 days after Election Day.

How do I know my absentee ballot is secure?

Each voter’s ballot has a unique bar code. The D.C. Board of Elections has been using the process successfully for 20 years. Voters can drop off a completed mail ballot in ANY Ballot Drop Box at ANY time before 8 pm on Election Day. There will be at least five boxes in each Ward.

When is Election Day? When are polls open?

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Can I vote in person before Election Day?

D.C. will offer early voting at 32 polling locations beginning on Oct. 27 and running through Nov. 2, the day before Election Day. Polls will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can access the district’s early voting information at to find out where to cast your ballot.

Capital One Arena will serve as an Early Vote Location and Election Day Super Center. DCBOE will set up voting stations within Capital One Arena’s concourse to check in voters, accept paper ballots and provide touch-screen electronic ballots. District of Columbia residents will have the opportunity to register in-person and cast their ballot the same day. Nationals Park will also be open for early and day-of voting.

What form of identification do I need to vote?

Registered voters do not need to show ID, unless you’re voting for the first time and you registered online or by mail, or if you’re registering in person for the first time during early voting or on Election Day. Then you’ll need to show a valid government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or a U.S. passport, a recent utility bill or bank statement, current lease, homeless shelter occupancy statement, or a government check or paycheck that has been issued within 90 days of Election Day.

What is being done to make polling places safe from coronavirus?

Polling places will have hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, disinfectant and social-distancing markers.

Will be curbside voting be available for older adults or those with disabilities who vote in person?

Voters over the age of 65 and voters with a disability who choose to vote in person can take advantage of curbside voting at all polling locations except for Super Vote Centers.

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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