WASHINGTON, DC: VOTE BY MAIL FOR SECURE ELECTIONS IN 2020

A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE FOR WASHINGTON, DC, ELECTIONS OFFICIALS

ABOUT THIS RESOURCE

Sightline’s state-by-state guides are designed to give local election officials and legislators the information they need to identify and take the most important steps to get ready for November. Each set of state-specific resources includes best practices and established models from around the country, including practical nuts and bolts advice for clerks, materials from election administrators with experience conducting all mail elections, and information about vendors and costs.

How DC is prepared for Vote By Mail

  • Allows any voter to request an absentee ballot.
  • Is a member of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).
  • Offers voters a “single sign-up” option to permanently vote by mail.
  • Accepts mailed ballots postmarked on Election Day.
  • Allows voters to request a replacement ballot online.
  • Automatically registers voters and updates their addresses.

RECOMMENDED STEPS FOR SECURE ELECTIONS

Within each section, recommendations are arranged roughly in order of importance and ease of implementation.

For Local Election Officials
  • Coordinate with USPS.
  • Design ballots and envelopes that are easy to use.
  • Implement robust signature verification.
  • Provide secure drop boxes.
  • Provide Election Day vote centers for in-person voting.
  • Consider using a professional printer and ballot sorter.
  • Count ballots at a secure centralized facility.
  • Include a postage-prepaid return envelope.
  • Invest in high-speed centralized equipment.
For Washington, DC’s Secretary
  • Use a comprehensive system to track ballots.
  • Mail absentee application forms to all registered voters.
  • Give voters sufficient opportunity to cure signature problems.
For Lawmakers
  • Account for voters with nontraditional addresses.
  • Allow counties to start processing envelopes early.
  • Allow early in-person voting options.
  • Allow community organizations to collect and deliver sealed ballots.

Download the full DC action packet, with detailed information for each recommendation.

Washington, DC's Grade for Vote By Mail preparedness = B+

Our grading system: We evaluated each state on 16 factors, covering access, administration efficiency, security, and infrastructure.

SEND THIS RESOURCE TO DC’s secretary of state:

Kimberly Bassett, [email protected]

dc’s executive director:

Alice Miller, [email protected]

Contact us

We welcome your questions and feedback. Email Kristin Eberhard, director of Sightline’s Democracy research program. Press inquiries: Anna Fahey.

Photos: Vote By Mail in Washington, DC. Shutterstock.