Do you have an Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Coordinator on staff to assist and answer questions from voters with disabilities?
Yes. The ADA Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the efforts of our agency to comply with the ADA, respond to complaints filed by the public, and ensure that all eligible voters have equal access to the voting process.
I have a disability. Can I still register to vote?
Yes, in order to register to vote, you must:
How can I register to vote?
Do I need to provide ID?
It depends. To register by mail you must have either a driver's license number or a DMV-issued ID number or the last four digits of your Social Security Number. When registering for the first time by mail you will additionally need to include a copy of one of the following:
What programs and services do you provide for voters with disabilities, senior citizens, and no or limited English proficient voters?
DCBOE provides the following services to ensure every eligible voter can exercise their right to vote:
Voter Access Services
English is not my first language. Are interpreters available at the polling place?
The D.C. Board of Election provides language access services for customers/voters who are limited or non-English proficient (LEP/NEP). Under the Language Access Act of 2004, we are required to provide language assistance in Amharic (አማርኛ), Chinese (中文), French (Français), Korean (한국어), Spanish (Español) and Vietnamese (Tiếng Việt). However, we also offer a full range of professional interpreting services via LanguageLine, more than 9,000 highly trained interpreters who are fluent in over 240 languages and American Sign Language Interpreters (ASL) for Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing constituents.
What are my voting options?
Vote in-person on Election Day: Senior citizens and people with disabilities can vote in-person at their assigned polling place on Election Day. Voter Assistance Clerks will be present to provide assistance.
Curbside voting: Voters who are unable, for reason of disability, seniority, or illness, to enter a polling place on the day of an election may arrange to vote from their car.
Early Voting Centers: You can cast your ballot at any Early Voting Center using the Board’s accessible touchscreen voting equipment. The touchscreen offers a voter-verifiable paper audit trail of all votes cast. Each voter will be checked in at the Early Voting Center using electronic pollbooks that are connected over a secure network so that a voter cannot check-in and cast a ballot at more than one location.
Absentee Voting: DC offers “no excuse” absentee voting. Please contact our office during each election season to find out the deadline to request your Absentee Ballot. All ballots must be received by DCBOE by 8:00 pm on Election Day. Ballots can be mailed or delivered in-person to DCBOE offices, dropped off at any Early Voting Center until the published deadline, or dropped off at any polling place on Election Day. To request an Absentee Ballot, complete the form online at www.dcboe.org and then print, sign, and mail it to the Board or send a letter to the Board’s physical address at 1015 Half Street, SE, Suite 750 Washington, DC 20003. If you send your own letter, you must include:
Can I participate in Board Meetings and Hearings if I am physically unable to attend?
Is my polling site accessible?
Yes. All early voting centers in the District meet strict ADA standards. On Election Day, we work collaboratively with other government agencies and volunteers to maintain accessible polling sites so that voters with disabilities and senior citizens can vote privately and independently.
Will I be allowed to bring my service animal inside the polling place?
Yes. Service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, Election Day Workers may ask two questions:
Is there someone who can help me if I do not know what to do once I am at the polling place? Can my spouse/partner/child/friend/neighbor help me inside the voting booth?
Yes. Feel free to bring a relative, friend, or neighbor to assist you, as long as they are not your employer, an election observer, or union representative. DCBOE Voter Assistance Clerks will also be on hand to help at every Early Voting Center and Election Day polling place.
My assigned polling place is not accessible for my specific needs. Can I vote somewhere else?
DCBOE offers Curbside Voting at all polling places on Election Day. You or someone you know can vote a ballot right from the comfort of your car. A Voter Assistance Clerk will be available to confirm your voter registration and bring you your ballot.
Another option is to request a ballot transfer. DCBOE will provide you with a ballot at a closer, more accessible location, as long as the request is made at least seven (7) days before Election Day.
Are your voting machines accessible? Is assistance required to use these machines?
The ExpressVote system was designed to accommodate voters in the general voting population, including voters with cognitive, dexterity, auditory and visual impairments. Voters have several options to make candidate selections.
Can I change my vote choice(s) before I cast my vote?
Yes. The federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requires any new voting equipment to allow voters the opportunity to change their choices privately and independently before their ballot is cast and counted.
What should I do if someone pressures me to vote for a particular candidate?
Please ask to speak with the Precinct Captain and report the matter/ individual immediately. While you are able to receive help with voting from an Election Day Worker or a person of your choosing, no person or official providing voter assistance should in any way influence or attempt to influence your choice in voting. Any person who violates this rule is subject to a $10,000 fine or imprisonment up to five years, or both, pursuant to DC Official Code § 1-1001.14(a).
I have trouble reading and understanding what is printed on my ballot. I would like to be able to vote privately and without help, just like everyone else. What are my rights?
The federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requires that voters with disabilities be able to cast their vote privately and without assistance.
Each polling place has at least two (2) accessible voting machines. These new voting machines use assistive and adaptive technology to provide the opportunity for voters with a wide range of disabilities to vote privately and independently.
May I move to the front of the line on Election Day if my disability requires it?
Yes. Under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), moving to the front of the line when necessary would be a reasonable accommodation. If your disability prevents you from staying in line, let an Election Day Worker know and ask to be moved to the front of the line. If you choose to stay in line, however, the poll worker cannot make you move to the front of the line just because you have a disability.
I have a cognitive disability, are there any restrictions on my right to vote in the District of Columbia?
No. Assuming you meet all other requirements to vote, you are eligible to vote unless there is a current and valid court order that indicates that a court has found you legally incompetent to vote. It is not up to an Election Day Worker to determine your competence to vote. Even if you have a guardian, you will still be allowed to vote as long as you are eligible.
Can I vote if I live in a nursing home, hospital, or other facility?
Yes. You can vote in-person or by Absentee Ballot, as described above. Alternatively, if you are living at a licensed District of Columbia nursing home, assisted living facility, or federal medical center, you may register to vote, request an Absentee Ballot, and have your ballot hand-delivered by a Board employee to your facility or bedside. Please contact your nursing home administrator immediately if you would like to request an Absentee Ballot.
I filled out my Sample Ballot ahead of time. Can I bring it inside the polling place as a “guide”?
Yes. You may bring in Sample Ballots and other notes to assist you with voting, but you must take them with you when you leave.
I lost or damaged my Absentee Ballot. Can I get a replacement?
Yes. You should contact the Board to have a replacement Absentee Ballot mailed to you.
Is there a way for me to vote if I experience a health crisis shortly before an election?
If you are unable to vote in-person at an Early Voting Center or on Election Day, you may be able to request an Emergency Absentee Ballot.
An Emergency Absentee Ballot is made available on the sixth day leading up to an election. You must meet certain criteria to request this ballot from the Board. To vote an Emergency Absentee Ballot, you must fill out an Emergency Absentee Ballot Application. This form is available at the Board’s office at 1015 Half Street, SE, Suite 750 and can be downloaded from the Board’s website.
An Emergency Absentee Ballot must be delivered and returned by a qualified registered voter. Any registered voter can complete the necessary forms with you to pick up a ballot, bring the ballot to you, and return your voted ballot to the Board’s office or to any polling place. You can do this only within the six (6) days preceding an election and on Election Day. Your ballot must be returned by 8:00 pm on Election Day.
Can I be an Election Day Worker if I have a disability?
Yes. Having a disability is not grounds to bar an otherwise qualified person from serving as an Election Day Worker. There is an application process and a mandatory training class. If you need a reasonable accommodation, please contact the ADA Coordinator at (202) 727-2525 or 711. Sign language interpreters and other language access services are available upon request.
If you would like to volunteer with DCBOE on Election Day as an ADA Compliance Assistant, please send completed applications to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (202) 727-2194 or 711.
What is a reasonable accommodation?