Nadeau Introduces Vote-By-Mail Bill to Increase Voter Participation



  • The “Vote By Mail Amendment Act of 2019” (VBM) requires the Board of Elections (BOE) to offer paper ballots for all elections to be mailed or dropped off at designated locations, in addition to allowing people to vote in person.
  • This legislation is aimed at making voting easier and increasing voter participation across the District.
  • At least 22 states have provisions that allow certain elections to be conducted entirely by mail. Three states, Colorado, Washington and Oregon, conduct all of their elections entirely by mail.

VBM does the following:

  • It requires the BOE to conduct elections by mailing qualified voters ballots for local and federal elections within 120 days of the effective date of the legislation.  
  • The benefits:
    • Increased convenience for voters; and
    • Increased turnout, especially among low propensity voters.
  • When are ballots mailed out?
    • Ballots are mailed to voters no later than 45 days before the election.
  • How can people vote?
    • Mail:  They can mail in their ballot with a postage-paid envelope that will also come to them by mail;
    • Ballot deposit center: They can drop the ballot off at a ballot deposit center 15 days before and including election day. 
    • Deposit centers could be the library, recreational center or similar place, including senior buildings and are open for at least 10 hours per day; or 
    • In person:  They can vote in person at a polling location in the 7 days leading up to and including election day.
  • Difficulty Getting mail?
    • For those who have a hard time getting their mail, or are homeless, they can request a ballot from the BOE and make other arrangements for delivery.
  • Lost ballot?
    • For those who lose their ballot, they can request another; or 
    • Vote at a polling location.
  • Which ballots are counted?
    • Ballots are counted if received by the date of the election at 8pm from polling locations, in ballot deposit centers, or in possession of the BOE.  
    • Mailed ballots count if received by the date of the election.




Last week, the Committee on Public Works & Operations, which I chair, convened a hearing to identify missteps in the initial investigation of allegations of sexual harassment against Mayor Bowser’s former chief of staff and deputy mayor for planning and economic development and ensure that the DC government improves going forward.

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