When you vote, you are making a formal declaration of your choice between candidates, or positions. You could vote for a person running for president, or you could also vote to legalize marijuana. It all depends on what is on the ballot.
- You have the right to vote if you are a citizen who is at least 18 years old.
- You have the right to make campaign donations.
- You have the right to canvass for your candidate.
Voting in DC
In the United States of America, citizens over the age of 18 cannot be denied the right to vote, regardless of race, religion, sex, disability, or sexual orientation. To vote in Washington, D.C., you must be a resident, 18 years old on or before the next election, not be in jail for a felony conviction, not claim the right to vote anywhere outside D.C., and not have been judged “mentally incompetent” by a court of law. However, in order to vote, citizens in every state (except North Dakota) must register to vote.
In DC, you can register to vote many different ways:
- On the Driver License or Identification Card Application (Form DMVR-4), if you visit a DMV office in person.
- In person at a District of Columbia Board of Elections (BOE) office and other D.C. agency offices.
- At your polling place on election day.
- By filling out the registration form, printing it, and sending to the BOE.
- Registration Deadlines
Deadlines depend on how you register to vote and what type of ballot you want to cast:
- If you register by mail, your application must be postmarked no more than 30 days prior to election day.
- If you register in person, you must do so:
- Before early voting begins to use a regular ballot.
- Up to and including election day to cast a special ballot.
Youth Vote Amendment Act of 2015
Introduced by Councilmembers Charles Allen, Brianna Nadeau, and David Grosso, this bill lowers the voting age to 16 for DC elections. The Young Women’s Project hopes to engage youth in the passing of this bill.
Here are some resources that help youth get involved in the political process:
- Local Organizations
- National Organization
- Advisory Neighborhood Commissions
- DC Government Councils and Institutes