Voter Registration Requirements

  • You need to be a United States citizen.
  • You need to reside in the District, and have maintained your residence there for at least 30 days before the next election.
  • You can't claim voting residence or the right to vote in another state or territory.
  • You need to be at least 16 years old to pre-register to vote (you may vote when you are 17, so long as you will be at least 18 by the next general election).
  • You can't have been found by a court of law to be legally incompetent to vote.
  • You can't be incarcerated for a crime that is a felony in the District.
  • If you're a first-time voter who registers by mail, you're required to submit proof of identification either at the time of registration or when you vote. You can include a copy of your identification with your registration form today! Acceptable forms of ID include: a current utility bill, bank statement, valid photo ID, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows your name and address.

Don't forget -- the District may have additional ID requirements when you go to the polls.


If you have additional questions about voting in the District of Columbia, please contact:

DC Board of Elections and Ethics: (202)-727-2525 or (866)-DC-VOTES (328-6837)

Registration Deadline

  • Postmarked by: 30 days before Election Day.
  • Same Day/Election Day registration: Yes.

Felony Information

Under District of Columbia law, if you've been convicted of a felony, you may not register and vote while you are incarcerated, but you may register and vote while you are on probation or parole. For more information on how to register and vote after a felony conviction, visit the DC Board of Elections' website or call 1-866-DC-VOTES.

Information for Students

  • You must be a resident of the state in which you register and vote. If you're a student from the District of Columbia who attends school in another state, you may need to determine whether you're a District of Columbia resident or a resident of the state where you attend school. The important thing to keep in mind is that you may only cast your vote in one state.
  • Here's what the District of Columbia says about residency: Under DC law, your residence is your principal or primary home or place of abode-- that is, the place where you have a fixed place to live and that you intend to return to whenever you're away. Some additional factors determining residence in DC include: business pursuits or employment, income, residence of family members, leases, and motor vehicle and property registrations.
  • If you determine you're a District of Columbia resident, but will not be present in this state or will be away from your home district on Election Day, be sure to check the absentee ballot application requirements and deadlines. In addition, District of Columbia residents who attend school in-state, but in a different election district, may be eligible to register and vote in the election district where they live while attending school.
  • To determine whether you're a resident of a different state where you attend school, be sure to check that state's residency requirements.

Identification Information

If you are a first-time voter in DC who registered by mail, you may need to show ONE of the following:

  • Current valid government photo identification, or
  • A current utility bill (does not incl. cell phone), a bank statement, a government check, a paycheck, or another government document that shows your name and address.

Same Day Registration

Yes, beginning in 2010.

Early Voting Information


In Washington, DC, you don't have to wait until Election Day to vote. You can skip Election Day lines and vote early at a time that's convenient for you.



Vote Early in Person


All voters in Washington, DC can vote in person before Election Day at the Board of Elections' office and at all other designated early voting centers from October 22, 2012 to November 3, 2012.

Vote Early by Mail


You can also vote before Election Day by completing an absentee ballot and submitting it by mail.

First, complete the Online Absentee Ballot Request Form . Alternatively, you may print and complete the Absentee Ballot Request Form and return it to the Board of Elections' office by mail or in person. The Board of Elections' office must receive your Request Form by October 30th.

If mailed, your completed absentee ballot must be postmarked by Election Day and received by the Board of Elections' office by 10 days after Election Day. Alternatively, you may deliver your completed absentee ballot in person to the Board of Elections' office or to a polling place by 8:00pm on Election Day.


Secretary of State