District of Columbia | Voting Guide

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Registration Deadlines and Election Dates

Mail-in and Online Registration Deadline: Received by Board of Elections by 21 days before Election Day

In-Person Registration Deadline: Received no later than the day before early voting begins



  • Primary Election Registration Deadline: May 12

  • Primary Election: June 2

  • General Election Registration Deadline: October 13

  • General Election: November 3


DC residents may also register during the early voting period and on Election Day

Official Election Websites
Register at School or Home

Students have a choice about where to register to vote.


Students attending college may register at their campus address or choose to remain registered or register at their permanent or home address.


You may only be registered and vote in one location.

What Type of ID Do I Need to Register?

DC’s voter registration form asks for your DC driver’s license or ID number, or the last four digits of your Social Security number. Be sure to provide one of these numbers if you have it.

All applicants must provide proof of DC residence by including a copy of a document showing their name and DC address. Students may present a tuition or housing bill from a District of Columbia college or university issued for the current academic or housing term.

A list of acceptable proof of residence documents is available at: https://www.vote4dc.com/Home/IDRequirements

What Type of ID Do I Need to Vote?

You don’t have to show ID to vote in DC. If you register to vote during the early voting period or on Election Day, you will have to show proof of residence that includes your name and address. Some first-time voters may need to show a valid photo ID or an official document with their name and address.

Where Do I Vote?

Make a plan. Look up your voting site and hours at: https://dcboe.org/Voters/Register-To-Vote/Check-Voter-Registration-Status

How Can I Vote?

By Mail

  • DC voters may vote by absentee ballot for any reason.

  • You can request an absentee ballot online through the DC Board of Elections and Ethics at https://www.vote4dc.com/ApplyInstructions/Absentee or by printing and mailing the absentee ballot request form.

  • Applications for absentee ballots must be received by mail or electronically by seven days before Election Day.

  • Completed absentee ballots must be received by the Board of Elections by 8 p.m. on Election Day.


Early In-Person

  • Eligible DC voters can register and cast a ballot during the early voting period. Voters can cast their ballot at any early voting location.

  • 2020 Early Voting Periods:

    • Primary Election: Friday, May 22, 2020 – Friday, May 29, 2020

    • General Election: Friday, October 23, 2020 – Friday, October 30, 2020

  • Early voting centers are open every day during this period from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Election Day

  • Voting sites will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Election Day. If you are in line by closing time then you must be allowed to vote.

Common Questions/Concerns

Registering to Vote Does Not Affect Your:

  • Federal Financial Aid

    • Where you register to vote will not affect federal financial aid such as Pell Grants, Perkins or Stafford loans, or your dependency status for FAFSA

  • Status as a Dependent on Your Parents’ Taxes

    • Being registered to vote at a different address from your parents does not prevent them from claiming you as a dependent on their taxes

  • Tuition Status

    • Being deemed out-of-state for tuition purposes does not prevent you from choosing to register to vote in your campus community


Will registering to vote in Washington D.C. affect my driver’s license or car registration?

  • A full-time student who is a resident of the District of Columbia is not required to obtain a D.C. license. For more information, visit the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles website at https://dmv.dc.gov/service/driver-licenses.

Fair Elections Center and Campus Vote Project intend the information contained herein to be used only as a general guide. This document should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a licensed Washington, DC legal professional.


Last updated October 2019

Campus Vote Project is a project of Fair Elections Center

(202) 331-0114            info@campusvoteproject.org

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