District of Columbia Absentee Ballot Guide

Last updated February 11, 2015
Military and Overseas voters should visit the Overseas Vote Foundation. Long Distance Voter's information should only be used by voters with US mailing addresses.

Important deadlines

  • Voter Registration Form: Postmarked 30 days before the election; on election day (in person)
  • Absentee Ballot Application: Received by the Tuesday before the election
  • Voted Absentee Ballot: Postmarked by election day and received within 10 days of the election. 

How to vote by absentee ballot

Register to vote

Recommended: Use our Voter Registration Tool Enter your information, print and sign the completed form, and mail it to the address printed on the form.  

You can register to vote and apply for your absentee ballot at the same time.  Put your completed voter registration form and your completed absentee ballot application in the same envelope and mail both to the DC Board of Elections and Ethics.  Both forms must be received by the voter registration deadline (at least 30 days before the election).

Verify your voter registration

It's best to verify your voter registration before applying for your absentee ballot.  If there's a problem with your registration, register again before proceeding.

NOTE: Most people receive their voter registration cards in the mail 2-3 weeks after registering to vote. Don't worry if you lost or never received it. You don't actually need your voter registration card to vote.

Make sure you're eligible to vote by absentee ballot

Good news! As of August 1, 2010, you no longer need an excuse to vote by absentee ballot in DC.  Any DC voter can vote by absentee ballot.  

Apply for your absentee ballot

DC creates a new absentee ballot application for each election year.

2014 District of Columbia Absentee Ballot Application.  

Download, complete, and mail your application to the DC Board of Elections and Ethics.  The address is on the form.  Don't forget to sign your application!

Complete and return your voted absentee ballot

Absentee ballots are straightforward.  Fill in your ballot, sign where indicated on the outer envelope, and return your voted absentee ballot to the DC Board of Elections before the deadline.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to provide ID when I vote by absentee ballot in the District of Columbia?

You do not need to provide ID if you have already voted in DC at least once.  If you are voting for the first time in D.C. and you registered to vote by mail, you must include a copy of your ID with your absentee ballot application (you don't need to do this if you provided ID with your voter registration form).  Acceptable forms of ID include: a copy of a current driver’s license or other photo identification which shows your name and address OR or a copy of a utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or government document which shows your name and address.

Can I vote by absentee ballot on a permanent basis in the District of Columbia?

Yes!  Use your DC Absentee Ballot Application to apply.  Check the box on the first page indicating that you would like to receive absentee ballots for all elections.  Your name will remain on the permanent absentee voter list until you ask the DC Board of Elections and Ethics to have it removed.

I need an emergency absentee ballot.  Help!

The deadline for applying for an absentee ballot is seven days before an election.  If you are unable to appear in person at the polls on election day or at the Board of Elections office prior to the Election due to a physical incapacity resulting from illness which occurred after the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot by mail, you can request an emergency absentee ballot.  Complete the the DC Application for Emergency Absentee Ballot, and mail your application to the DC Board of Elections and Ethics.  You can also designate a representative to deliver your application and pick up your ballot for you.

Are absentee ballots counted in the District of Columbia?

All valid absentee ballots are counted regardless of how close an election is. Don't take our word for it: you can verify the status of your absentee ballot online.  

Does the District of Columbia offer early in-person voting?

Yes. Check out our Early Voting page for details.

Additional Information

District Election Website: http://www.dcboee.org/
Email: boee@dc.gov
Local Election Officials: Your Local Election Official is the best person to contact if you have voting-related questions.  They'll be able to provide up-to-date information on rules and deadlines.


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