Request an absentee ballot
In Washington, D.C., you will automatically be mailed a ballot.
Ballots are mailed starting the first week of October.
Fill out your ballot
Ballots are automatically sent to all active voters in Washington, D.C. starting the first week of October.
Mailed ballots need more than your vote. Most require at least one signature and can’t have any stray marks. They must be sent back in the envelope provided.
Here’s a more detailed guide on how to make sure your ballot is counted. Be sure to follow the instructions that accompanied your ballot and contact your local election officials with any questions.
Return your ballot
Your ballot can be returned at a dropbox, in person or by mail by you or a third party, with some restrictions. Prepaid return postage for ballots is guaranteed in Washington, D.C.
Ballots must be dropped off in person or postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by mail no later than Nov. 10. Check with local officials for specific times. The U.S. Postal Service recommends voters mail their ballot at least one week prior to the state deadline, by Oct. 27.
You can track your ballot’s status here .
Don’t wait too long! The U.S. Postal Service sent a warning to the Washington, D.C. Board of Elections that ballots could be delayed for a narrow set of voters.
Your ballot is verified and counted
From identifying information and tracking bar codes on your ballot to signatures, a lot has gone into making sure your vote is accurate and will count by the time your ballot is returned.
In Washington, D.C., the signature submitted with your ballot will be checked against what election officials have on file. For certain problems with your ballot, election officials are required to contact you and offer you a chance to “cure” it so it can be counted.
Absentee ballots may start being processed upon receipt and formally counted Oct. 19. Dates can vary based on jurisdiction size or the number of mail ballots sent.
Casting a ballot in person
In Washington, D.C., you can vote early from Oct. 27 to Nov. 2 or on Election Day, Nov. 3. Be sure to check your voting location ahead of time.
You’ll be required to show identification if you’re a first-time voter who didn’t provide identification during registration. Wearing a mask to vote in person is required.
If you received a ballot in the mail but decide you want to vote in person, you can — but you may be required to take an additional action, such as surrendering your ballot, signing an affidavit or casting a provisional ballot. Contact your local election officials for details.
You’re all set
You can visit Washington, D.C.’s election website for more details on voting. If you have any questions or issues or need to check the status of your provisional ballot contact your local elections officials.
Want to learn how to register to vote or vote by mail? You can with different choices.
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About this story
Editing by Reuben Fischer-Baum and Ann Gerhart. Copy editing by Briana R. Ellison and Brian Cleveland. Additional development by Lucio Villa. Illustrations by Abbey Lossing. Susan Berger, Mark Kreidler, Alan Neuhauser and Annette Nevins contributed to this report.
Voting information for this project was collected from official sources, including secretaries of state, county clerks and written election codes. In some cases, The Post used news reports, court opinions and published research from sources such as the National Conference of State Legislatures to check or verify details.
Illustrations in this piece should not be used as a precise guide for how to mark your ballot.
See something that we missed? Let us know.