The Washington Post

UPDATED: D.C.’s online absentee ballot request form was broken

This ballot is from Iowa. But it’s a ballot. (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)


A little more than three weeks remain before the deadline for D.C. residents to request absentee ballots for the Nov. 6 election. But those in need are currently unable to download an absentee application from the Board of Elections Web site.

The online absentee function gives users an error when they try to display a personalized application form: “This URL is not valid. Please try again.” A resident who contacted me said the function has been down “for some days.” The alternative is hauling oneself down the board’s offices at One Judiciary Square downtown.

Spokesman Wesley Williams said board staff “are aware of it and are working on resolving the issue.” 

Williams has not yet responded to a question about how long a fix might take. Absentee ballot applications must be received by the board by Oct. 30.

The online function uses an online form to populate a PDF file, which still must be printed out and mailed to the board. Might I suggest an easy fix: Just ditch the auto-populate feature and post a blank form!

UPDATE, 2 P.M.: It’s even worse than I first indicated: Not only the absentee ballot function is broken, the form to register to vote or update your registration is also broken. Applications to register or update an existing registrations are due next Tuesday, Oct. 9. Voters who are unable to  register or update their registrations may have to cast provisional ballots on Nov. 6.

The registration function, like the absentee function, is an auto-populated PDF form. Posting a blank form to be filled out by hand would fix the problem.

UPDATE, 3 P.M.: Huzzah! Everything seems to be working now.

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Perks of private flying
Drawing as an act of defiance
Play Videos
Husband finds love, loss in baseball
Bao: The signature dish of San Francisco
From foster homes to the working world
Play Videos
How soccer is helping Philadelphia men kick the streets
Here's why you hate the sound of your own voice
The woman behind the Nats’ presidents ‘Star Wars’ makeover
Play Videos
How hackers can control your car from miles away
How to avoid harmful chemicals in school supplies
How much can one woman eat?
Next Story
Mike DeBonis · October 5, 2012

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.