DC Voter's Guide

3:06 PM, Mar 27, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA)-- On Tuesday, April 3 District residents will be able to cast ballots to select their political party's  nominees for the primary contests listed below.   The winners will advance to the general election ballot in November, along with independent and minor party candidates for each office.

Democratic and Statehood Green Voters:

President of the United States
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
At-Large Member of the Council
Ward Member of the Council (Wards 2, 4, 7 & 8)
U.S. Senator ('Shadow Senator')
U.S. Representative ('Shadow Representative")

Republican Voters:

President of the United States
Delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives
At-Large Member of the Council
Ward Member of the Council (Wards 2, 4, 7 & 8)
U.S. Senator ('Shadow Senator')
U.S. Representative ('Shadow Representative')
Republican National Committeeman
Republican National Committeewoman

MORERead Candidates' Biographies and Answers to Questions Posed by the League of Women Voters

MORE: View and print out sample ballots here

MORE:  Poll hours are 7am-8pm


Here are some answers to some of the most commonly asked questions. This information comes from the DC Board of Elections:


Q: Who can vote?

The District of Columbia has "closed" primaries. That means the election is only open to voters who are registered with one of the political parties holding a primary election -Democratic, Republican and D.C. Statehood Green. The candidate who wins each party's nomination will advance to the general election, along with independent and other party candidates, on November 6.


Q: Is it too late to register?

No. The District of Columbia offers same-day voter registration. To register at the polls, you will need to show proof of residence such as a driver's license, government check or paycheck, lease, utility bill, bank statement or government document showing your name and address in the District.


Q: Do voters need to show ID?

No. Many voters choose to show ID, but it is not required. There are two exceptions:

1)      If you register at the polls, you must show proof of residence; and

2)      Federal law requires identification if you:

  • registered to vote for the first time by mail AND
  • the Board has been unable to verify the Social Security number or driver's license number that you provided.


If you are required to show ID and you do not have it at the polls, you can show it to the Board up to ten days after the election.



Q: How many residents of the District are registered to vote?

As of March 31, there are 460,134 registered voters in the District of Columbia including 344,555 registered Democrats (74.88%), 30,286 Republicans (6.59%) and 4,155 members of the D.C. Statehood Green Party (.90%).


Q: How many polling places are there?

There are 143 voting precincts in the District. For this election, two polling places are accommodating two precincts each, so there will be 141 polling places on April 3.  (Precinct 2 and Precinct 3 are sharing space at The School Without Walls and Precinct 30 and Precinct 31 are also sharing space at Janney Elementary School).  


Q: How many ballots were cast during early voting?

More than 6,000 voters cast ballots during early voting (6,051). In addition 3,790 ballots were mailed to absentee voters who can postmark their ballot until Election Day.

Q: How does the Board assist voters who speak a language other than English?

The Board provides signs and instructions in each polling place in Spanish. Voters can also cast a Spanish-language ballot on the touch screen. The Board also recruits pollworkers who speak languages other than English to serve in the polling places with the greatest concentration of residents who speak that language, according to the latest numbers available from the U.S. Census.


Q: What voting equipment do voters use to cast their ballots in the District?

Voters at every polling place have the choice of a paper ballot or a touch-screen voting machine. The touch-screen voting machines have a voter-verifiable paper trail. The District uses voting equipment manufactured by Election Systems & Software, Inc., that has been tested and certified by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. 

Q: What happens if there is a power outage or problem with the voting equipment?

Every polling place has an "emergency bin" where paper ballots can be placed if there is a power outage or problem with the voting equipment. Pollworkers are trained to open the doors of each polling place promptly at 7:00 a.m. and make sure that voters can cast paper ballots in the emergency bin if they have a problem getting the electronic scanner or the touch screen voting equipment set up. In addition, the Board has roving technical support teams with replacement voting equipment who will replace the equipment quickly if there is a problem. 

Q: Who should voters call if they have a question or problem?

If a voter has a question, problem or concern when they are voting, the first person to contact is the supervisor at that polling place, who is referred to as the Precinct Captain.  The best time and place to resolve a problem is where and when it happens. Voters can also call the Board of Elections with questions at (202) 727-2525. To report election misconduct, call the Board's Office of General Counsel at (202) 727-2194.


Q: What is the best time to vote and avoid lines?

Since most voters cast their ballots before going to work or shortly before the polls close, the best time to vote and avoid lines is in the late morning or early afternoon.





Q: What rules apply to candidates' representatives inside the polling place?

Candidates are permitted to have one poll watcher per precinct (purple badge) and may have a poll watcher supervisor present (gray badge). Election observers who are not affiliated with a candidate may also be present (orange badge). Precinct captains are instructed to give priority access to poll watchers, then to members of the media, then to election observers. Poll watchers may challenge voters' qualifications but may not assist voters in casting their ballot.


Q: Where can I get a list of polling places and voter registration by precinct?

The most frequently requested documents that are available over the counter at the Board's office are available online at www.dcboee.org and packaged together with this FAQ as a press kit at http://bit.ly/DCapril2012.




Q: Do absentee and provisional ballots count?

Yes. The Board does not certify the results of an election until it holds a public meeting after all ballots are counted. The Board will be able to provide information on the number of special and curbside ballots on Wednesday morning, after reviewing paperwork returned from the precincts.


Absentee ballots can be postmarked as late as Election Day and the Board provides ten days to review and consider appeals of whether provisional ballots can be counted. To protect the privacy of senior citizens and voters with disabilities who cast a curbside ballot, their votes are also tallied with the absentee and special ballots on the tenth day after the election.


Q: What else does the Board do before certifying results of the election?

Once all ballots have been counted on Friday, April 13, the Board will conduct a post-election audit. This audit includes conducting a hand count of paper ballots, as well as the paper audit trail of votes cast using the touch screen voting machine, in at least one precinct in each ward. The Board will certify results upon completion of this audit at its monthly Board meeting on Wednesday, April 18.

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