D.C. residents should vote early either in person or using a mail-in ballot because officials expect two to three times the usual turnout at polls on Nov. 3, the head of the Board of Elections said Thursday.
Wizards player Bradley Beal joined elections officials in urging residents to vote. He opened up about what he called his own prior ignorance about voting.
Beal, 27, said that in November he will cast a ballot for the first time. He said he had taken his right to vote for granted.
“There should be no excuse for your voice not to be heard,” he said from a podium in the arena.
BOE Chairman Michael Bennett said he’s confident that his office can provide “the very best environment for D.C. residents to vote” despite the coronavirus pandemic and the “record-shattering turnout” they expect.
Election officials shared plans for a “super vote center” at Capital One Arena. Voters will check in on the arena concourse.
Early voting in D.C. starts Oct. 27. Thirty-two locations will be open for early voting, including five super sites at the arena, Nationals Park, the Omni Shoreham Hotel, Dock 5 at Union Market and the University of the District of Columbia.
Every registered voter will receive a mail-in ballot by about Oct. 7. Those ballots can be dropped off at polling sites or mailed in. They have to be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by Nov. 13.
Election officials are expecting long lines at polls.
Bennett responded to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s repeated criticism that not all 144 polling locations will be open. Some are too small for social distancing, he said.
Masks will be required for voting in person, and polling sites will be sanitized.
Work to staff the polls is ongoing, Bennett said. About 1,500 workers have been trained. About 4,000 will be needed. About 3,000 people have applied, particularly people in their 20s and 30s.
“Young people have really answered the call to be poll workers,” Bennett said.