VRM in the States: Washington D.C.

March 9, 2017

In November 2016, the DC Council unanimously passed an automatic voter registration bill that became law in February 2017. Eligible citizens will be registered to vote through the DMV unless they decline registration. Learn more about automatic registration here.

This effort is part of a trend of state governments advancing automatic registration. In March 2015, Oregon became the first state to pass a law to automatically register eligible citizens when they interact with the DMV. CaliforniaWest VirginiaVermont, Connecticut, and Alaska all followed, authorizing automatic registration between 2015 and 2016.

Prior Advances in Voter Registration Modernization

This reform builds upon DC's existing voter registration modernization efforts:

    • Online Voter Registration: DC launched online voter registration through the Board of Elections in 2015. Eligible citizens can use the system to register to vote or update their registration information even if they do not have a state driver’s license or non-driver ID.
    • Election Day Registration: DC implemented Election Day registration in 2010. Individuals may register and vote at the polls on Election Day and any early voting center during the early voting period.
    • Portability: Registered voters who move within DC without updating their registration can, on Election Day, file a change of address notice at their old polling place and then cast a regular ballot at their new polling place. Voters also have the option to go straight to their new polling place and vote with a special ballot.  
    • Electronic Pollbooks: DC employs electronic pollbooks districtwide.