Citizens in DC started forming lines outside early voting centers Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic to cast their ballots in person one week ahead of the November 3 election.
Most of the 32 locations, including six “super vote centers” across the District, will be open daily between 8:30 am and 7 pm from Tuesday, October 27 through Monday, November 2 for anyone who opts for voting in person.
The hours and wait times may vary depending on where you live in the city. Hence, it is advised to check specific times at your location prior to your visit.
In addition to voting for the US president, residents will be casting ballots for DC Council seats (at-large and Wards 2, 4, 7 and 8) and the District’s nonvoting US House delegate.
Each ward provides at least two early-voting locations. You can find the list of them here.
The super vote centers that allow for accommodating large crowds while they can practice proper social distancing include the Entertainment and Sports Arena and Capitol One Arena.
The deadline to register online was October 13. However, same-day registration at voting centers during early voting and on Election Day is also allowed. But eligible voters are required to bring a proof of residence such as:
- DMV-issued ID
- Government check or paycheck
- Recent bank statement
- Current utility bill
- Student housing statement/tuition bill
- Homeless shelter occupancy statement
- Other government document with your name and address
You can also make updates to your information on your voter registration at these centers.
If you are already registered, there is no need for you to show proof of residency.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), voters should adhere to the following guidelines to stay safe from COVID-19:
- Practice healthy behaviors to protect yourself and slow the spread of COVID-19
- Wash your hands before entering and after leaving the polling location.
- While in the polling location, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol frequently, especially after touching surfaces frequently touched by multiple people, such as door handles or voting machines.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in lined trash cans. Wash your hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol.
- Wear a mask. Children under 2 and anyone who has trouble breathing, is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance should not wear a mask.
- Maintain at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) of distance from others. It is important to continue social distancing even when you and others are wearing masks.
- Consider voting alternatives available in your jurisdiction that minimize contact. Voting alternatives that limit the number of people you come in contact with or the amount of time you are in contact with others can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Check your local election office websiteexternal icon for more information on voting alternatives available in your jurisdiction.
- Do not disinfect or wipe down the voting equipment yourself. Electronic voting equipment can be damaged by cleaners and disinfectants. If you use hand sanitizer before touching the voting equipment, ensure your hands are completely dry to avoid damaging the equipment. Wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer after using the voting equipment.
- Avoid crowds
- Use early voting, if available in your jurisdiction.
- Vote at off-peak times, such as mid-morning.
- If driving to the polls and your schedule allows, monitor the voter line from your car and join it when it’s shorter.
- Be prepared
- Check your voting location and requirements in advance because they may have changed due to COVID-19.
- Verify your voter registration information is correct in advance of reporting to the polling location.
- Contact your local or state election officeexternal icon for additional information for voters with disabilities.
- Make sure you have all necessary documents to avoid delays at the polling location.
- If possible, complete any registration forms prior to arriving at the polling location.
- Where possible, review or complete a sample ballot at home to speed the process of casting your ballot at the polling location.
- Bring your own black ink pen.
- Bring a stylus or similar object for use with touchscreen voting machines. Check with poll workers before using.
Around 60 million citizens have voted so far in the 2020 election, most of them through mail-in ballots, which is considered a record-breaking pace.