You must register to vote in the District of Columbia if you would like to cast a vote in an upcoming election. A DC voter registration can only be finalized if you meet eligibility requirements. Therefore, it is important to learn about these requirements before submitting an application. You can register online, by mail or in person. If you miss the deadline to complete your registration, you can complete it in person on Election Day. Registration can also be performed at your local DMV.

A voter registration card will be mailed to you once you have completed your DC registration. This card provides you with numerous pieces of information, including your polling place. If you do not receive a card, it is important to know how to request a replacement. While you do not need the card to vote, it can expedite the process on Election Day.

Who can register to vote in Washington DC?

Before learning how to register to vote within the District of Columbia, it is recommended that you review eligibility requirements that have been set forth by the district. To register to vote in the DC area, you:

  • Must be a citizen of the United States.
  • Must be a resident of the District of Columbia for at least 30 days prior to Election Day.
  • Must not be claiming voting residence outside of the DC area.
  • Must be at least 18 years of age by the next general election.
  • Cannot be currently incarcerated for a felony conviction.
  • Must not have been found to be legally incompetent to vote by a court.

You can complete pre-voter registration if you are at least 16 years of age and meet the eligibility requirements listed above. By completing the preregistration, you will automatically be registered to vote when you turn 18.

Washington D.C. Voter Registration Deadline

Your registration must be completed by the deadline when registering online, by mail or in person. This deadline is always set at 21 days prior to the Election Day. However, if you miss the deadline, you can complete a same-day registration during early voting periods and on Election Day.

If you need to change your voter registration, you must do so before this same deadline or make a change in person during the early voting period or on Election Day.

How to Register to Vote in Washington DC

It is important to learn how to register to vote in the District of Columbia in order to avoid future hassles. While you can complete registration during early voting or on Election Day, it is faster to do so beforehand.

If you are wondering, “Am I registered to vote in the District of Columbia?” you should be aware that verifying your registration status is a simple process that can be performed online or by contacting the DC Board of Elections. One of the easiest ways to register to vote is through the online application or free mobile app.

However, you can also submit an application by mail or in person. If you would like to complete registration by mail, you will need to complete an application and submit it by mail. Applications can be found online, at public libraries, at fire stations, at the DCBOE and at the Metropolitan Police Department.

Election registration applications that are submitted by mail may also need to include current proof of residence. Acceptable proof of residence documents include but are not limited to:

  • A current and valid DC drivers license or identification card.
  • A recent bank statement.
  • A current utility bill.
  • A current lease or mortgage agreement.
  • A government-issued document that contains your name and current address.

Alternatively, you can register to vote at a number of locations in person. These locations include:

  • Your local DC DMV.
  • A DC Board of Elections location.
  • A DC Department of Human Services office.
  • A DC office of aging.
  • A DC Department of Health office.

Finally, you can register at an early voting location or at your polling place on Election Day.

Early Voting in Washington D.C.

You can register to vote and submit your vote early in the DC area during early voting periods. Early voting is available to all eligible voters within the state. You will be permitted to vote at any early voting location, regardless of your polling place on the Election Day. Early voting generally begins during the month prior to the Election Day. You will be required to provide proof of residence if you have not already registered.

Should you need to perform a voter registration change of address or request any other change on your registration, you may do so either before or during the early voting period.

Washington DC Voter Registration for Active Duty Military and Out-of-State Residents

If you need to register to vote in the District of Columbia but are currently an active duty military member or are stationed overseas for personal or business reasons, you may be eligible to complete a Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) form. This form will not only help you to complete your registration, but it also automatically requests an absentee ballot. To be eligible for FPCA, you must either be:

  • An active duty member of the Uniformed Services, Merchant Marine or commissioned corps of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • An immediate family member of one of the above individuals.
  • An eligible U.S. citizen who is currently outside of the country due to personal or business travel.

It is important to complete this voter registration at the beginning of each year if you know that you will be absent for Election Day. This is a temporary form of registration that will only last one calendar year. You should complete an FPCA form at least 90 days before any election that you wish to vote in. Absentee ballots will be sent at least 45 days prior to a federal election.

Washington D.C. Voter Registration for Absentee Voting

After you register to vote in the District of Columbia, it is worth knowing that you will be eligible for an absentee vote if you do not wish to appear in person during the early voting period or on Election Day. This service is available to all registered voters within the state.

After completing your DC voter registration, you may request an absentee ballot by mail. To do so, you will need to complete an application and mail it to the DC Board of Elections. Alternatively, you also have the option of completing the entire ballot request electronically from a mobile device using the DC voting mobile app.

Voter Registration Cards in Washington DC

A District of Columbia voter registration card will be mailed to you after you have completed your registration. This card will contain various pieces of information about you, including your name, address and party affiliation. However, it does not contain sensitive information such as your Social Security Number (SSN).

If you are wondering, “Where do I vote on Election Day?” be aware that your polling location will be displayed on the card. If you vote on Election Day, you must vote at the polling place that is assigned to you. This polling place is based upon your address. Remember that you do not need your card to vote, but having it can help expedite the voting process on Election Day.

How to Change Your Voter Registration in Washington D.C.

If you need to change a voter registration address or make any other change to your DC registration, you may do so by mail or in person. To make a change to your address, name or party affiliation, simply complete an application for registration and submit it along with the required registration information.

You may also update your information in person at a Board of Election office. When completing this process, it may be beneficial to change your address on your driver’s license, ID card, car registration or other important DMV documents.

If you need to change your voter registration regarding party affiliation, you must do so at least 21 days prior to a primary election. Any application to change your party affiliation that is received within 21 days of the primary selection will be processed after the election.

How to Replace a Lost Washington DC Voter Registration Card

If you do not receive your DC voter registration card within 30 days of completing your registration, you can contact the Board of Elections to request a replacement. You can also make a replacement request if your card becomes lost, stolen or damaged. However, as mentioned previously, you do not need the card to vote on Election Day.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 12 2019.

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