Election Day


When voting and submitting my ballot, how many chances do I have to make a mistake?

If you make a mistake, a polling place official will give you a new ballot. You will be limited to 3 ballots (one original, two replacements).

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What is a "special ballot status"?

If an individual whose eligibility to vote in the election cannot be determined at an early voting center or at the polls on Election Day, he or she may vote by Special Ballot. Once the Board has determined that he or she is eligible to vote in this election, his/her vote will be counted.

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What's the difference between a "Provisional Ballot" and a "Special Ballot"?

A provisional ballot and a special ballot are one in the same.

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Under what circumstances does a voter use a Special Ballot?

A voter may be required to complete a special ballot for any of the following reasons:

  • Voter is voting outside of their assigned precinct
    • You must vote at your assigned precinct in order for your ballot to count.
  • Marked as "Early Voter"
    • The pollbook shows you have voted at an Early Voting Center. If you have not already voted, your special ballot will be counted.
  • Marked as "Absentee Voter"
    • The pollbook shows you have received an absentee ballot for this election. If you have not already voted, your special ballot will be counted.
  • Marked as "ID REQUIRED," but does NOT have ID
    • The pollbook indicates you must show identification because the DMV-issued number or the last four digits of the social security number you provided on your registration application could not be verified and you did not show ID before voting.
    • You have two days following the election to show your ID to the Board.
    • Acceptable forms of ID are listed under Same-Day Registration above.
  • Marked as "Administrative Challenge"
    • Mail was sent to your residence address and returned to the Board within 30 days of the election.
    • Your ballot will count provided you have not moved.
  • Voter claims different party affiliation status (PRIMARY ELECTION)
    • You claim a different political party in the primary other than the one shown on the list of registered voters at the polling place.
    • Your ballot will be counted if the Board has your party affiliation listed incorrectly due to a clerical error.
  • Voter claims different ANC/SMD (GENERAL ELECTION)
    • You claim a different single member district in the general election other than the one shown on the list of registered voters at the polling place.
    • If the Board’s research following the election indicates you do not reside in the single member district for which you received a ballot, your vote for Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner will not be counted.
  • Voter already checked in/signature line already signed
    • The pollbook indicates you have already checked in to vote.
    • If you have not already voted, your special ballot will be counted.
  • Challenge to voting qualifications approved by Precinct Captain
    • Your right to vote was challenged by another voter or a poll watcher and approved by the Precinct Captain.
    • Your special ballot will be counted if the Board determines that you are the person you say you are and you are eligible to vote in the election.
  • Voting hours extended by a court or the Board
    • You voted during extended hours.
    • If the court orders that polling places remain open after 8 PM, all voters who cast ballots during these extended hours must vote by special ballot.
    • Your vote will count if the court decision is upheld.
  • Same-day registration but the voter did not provide acceptable proof of residence
    • You are registering to vote as a Same-Day Registrant, but you did not provide acceptable proof of residence.
    • You have two days following the election to show your proof of residence to the Board.
    • Acceptable forms of proof of residence are listed under Same-Day Registration above.
  • Change of address but the voter did not provide acceptable proof of residence
    • You are changing your address at your assigned precinct, but you did not provide acceptable proof of residence.
    • You have two days following the election to show your ID to the Board.
    • Acceptable forms of proof of residence are listed below.
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Will I need to present an ID (proof of residence) prior to voting on Election Day?

Registered voters do not need to present proof of residence to vote, however some polling places require ID to enter the facility. It is therefore encouraged that you take some form of identification with you to vote.

If you will be registering during the early voting period or at the polls on Election Day, you will need to provide proof of residence in order to register and vote a special ballot. If you are a first-time voter who registered by mail and did not provide proof of residence when registering, you will need to show proof of residence in order to cast a regular ballot.

Acceptable forms of proof of residence include the following (must include the name and address of the voter):

  • Copy of current and valid photo identification
  • Copy of a current utility bill (does not include cell phone)
  • Bank statement
  • Government check
  • Paycheck
  • Or other government document that shows your name and address

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What do I do if I make a mistake on my ballot and I've already submitted it to the machine?

If an error is made, the scanner should reject your ballot and you may take your ballot back to the ballot clerk and receive a new ballot.

Nevertheless, it is strongly advised that you carefully review your ballot before submitting it because if the scanner does not detect your error, your vote will not be counted for that contest.

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DC Board of Elections
441 4th Street, NW, Suite 250 North
Washington, DC 20001
Tel: (202) 727-2525 | TTY: (202) 639-8916 | Tollfree: 1-866-DC-VOTES
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