Code of the District of Columbia

§ 1–1001.08(Perm). Qualifications of candidates and electors; nomination and election of Delegate, Chairman of the Council, members of Council, Mayor, Attorney General, and members of State Board of Education; petition requirements; arrangement of ballot.

(a)(1) Each candidate for election to the office of national committeeman or alternate, or national committeewoman or alternate, and for election as a member or official designated for election at large under paragraph (4) of § 1-1001.01, shall be a qualified elector registered under § 1-1001.07 who has been nominated for such office, or for election as such member or official, by a nominating petition:

(A) Signed by not less than 500, or 1%, whichever is less, of the qualified electors registered under such § 1-1001.07, who are of the same political party as the candidate; and

(B) Filed with the Board not later than the 90th day before the date of the election held for such office, member, or official.

(2) In the case of a nominating petition for a candidate for election as a member or official designated for election from a ward under paragraph (4) of § 1-1001.01, such petition shall be prepared and filed in the same manner as a petition prepared and filed by a candidate under paragraph (1) of this subsection and signed by 100, or 1%, whichever is less, of the qualified electors residing in such ward, registered under § 1-1001.07, who are of the same political party as the candidate.

(b)(1)(A) No person shall hold elected office pursuant to this section unless the person has been a bona fide resident of the District of Columbia continuously since the beginning of the 90-day period ending on the date of the next election, and is a qualified elector registered under § 1-1001.07.

(B) Repealed.

(C) Repealed.

(D) Any candidate for the position of Attorney General shall also meet the qualifications required by § 1-301.83 before the day on which the election for Attorney General is to be held.

(2) Only qualified petition circulators may circulate nominating petitions in support of candidates for elected office pursuant to this subchapter. The Board shall consider invalid the signatures on any petition sheet that was circulated by a person who, at the time of circulation, was not a qualified petition circulator.

(3) All signatures on a petition shall be made by the person whose signature it purports to be and not by any other person. Each petition shall contain an affidavit, made under penalty of perjury, in a form to be determined by the Board and signed by the circulator of that petition which shall state that the circulator is a qualified petition circulator and has:

(A) Personally circulated the petition;

(B) Personally witnessed each person sign the petition; and

(C) Inquired from each signer whether the signer is a registered voter in the same party as the candidate and, where applicable, whether the signer is registered in and a resident of the ward from which the candidate seeks election.

(3A)(A) Petition sheets circulated in support of a candidate for elected office pursuant to this act must be filed with the Board in hard copy but may be electronically provided by the:

(i) Board to the candidate;

(ii) Candidate to qualified petition circulators; and

(iii) Qualified petition circulator to the candidate.

(B) Signatures on such petition sheets shall not be invalidated because the signer was also the circulator of the same petition sheet on which the signature appears.

(4) Any circulator who knowingly and willfully violates any provisions of this section, or any regulations promulgated pursuant to this section, shall upon conviction be subject to a fine of not more than $10,000, or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both. Each occurrence of a violation of this section shall constitute a separate offense. Violations of this section shall be prosecuted in the name of the District of Columbia by the Attorney General of the District of Columbia.

(c)(1) In such election of officials referred to in paragraph (1) of § 1-1001.01, and in each election of officials designated for election at large pursuant to paragraph (4) of § 1-1001.01, the Board shall arrange the ballot of each party to enable the registered voters of such party to vote separately or by slate for each official duly qualified and nominated for election to such office.

(2) In each election of officials designated, pursuant to paragraph (4) of § 1-1001.01, for election from a ward, the Board shall arrange the ballot of each party to enable the registered voters of such party, residing in such ward, to vote separately or by slate for each official duly qualified and nominated from such ward for election to such office from such ward.

(d) Each political party which had in the next preceding election year at least 7,500 votes cast in the general election for a candidate of the party to the office of Delegate, Chairman of the Council, member of the Council, Mayor, or Attorney General, shall be entitled to elect candidates for presidential electors, provided that the party has met all deadlines set out in this subchapter or by regulation for the submission of a party plan for the election. The executive committee of the organization recognized by the national committee of each such party as the official organization of that party in the District of Columbia shall nominate by appropriate means the presidential electors for that party. Nominations shall be made by message to the Board on or before September 1st next preceding a presidential election.

(e) The names of the candidates of each political party for President and Vice President shall be placed on the ballot under the title and device, if any, of that party as designated by the duly authorized committee of the organization recognized by the national committee of that party as the official organization of that party in the District. The form of the ballot shall be determined by that Board. The position on the ballot of names of candidates for President and Vice President shall be determined by lot. The names of persons nominated as candidates for electors of President and Vice President shall not appear on the ballot.

(f) A political party which does not qualify under subsection (d) of this section may have the names of its candidates for President and Vice President of the United States printed on the general election ballot provided a petition nominating the appropriate number of candidates for presidential electors signed by at least 1 per centum of registered qualified electors of the District of Columbia, as shown by the records of the Board as of the 144th day before the date of the presidential election, is presented to the Board on or before the 90th day before the date of the presidential election.

(g)(1) No person may be elected to the office of elector of President and Vice President pursuant to this act unless the person:

(A) Is a registered voter in the District; and

(B) Has been a bona fide resident of the District for a period of 3 years immediately preceding the date of the presidential election.

(2) Each person elected as elector of President and Vice President shall, in the presence of the Board, take an oath or solemnly affirm that the person will vote for the candidates of the party the person has been nominated to represent, and it shall be the person's duty to vote in such manner in the electoral college.

(h)(1)(A) The Delegate, Chairman of the Council, the 4 at-large members of the Council, Mayor, and Attorney General shall be elected by the registered qualified electors of the District of Columbia in a general election. Each candidate for the office of Delegate, Chairman of the Council, the at-large members of the Council, Mayor, and Attorney General in any general election shall, except as otherwise provided in subsection (j) of this section and § 1-1001.10(d), have been elected by the registered qualified electors of the District as such candidate by the next preceding primary election.

(B)(i) A member of the office of Council (other than the Chairman and any member elected at large) shall be elected in a general election by the registered qualified electors of the respective ward of the District from which the individual seeking such office was elected as a candidate for such office as provided in sub-subparagraph (ii) of this subparagraph.

(ii) Each candidate for the office of member of the Council (other than Chairman and at-large members) shall, except as otherwise provided in subsection (j) of this section and § 1-1001.10(d), have been elected as such a candidate, by the registered qualified electors of the ward of the District from which such individual was nominated, at the next preceding primary election to fill such office within that ward.

(2) The nomination and election of any individual to the office of Delegate, Chairman of the Council, member of the Council, Mayor, and Attorney General shall be governed by the provisions of this subchapter. No political party shall be qualified to hold a primary election to select candidates for election to any such office in a general election unless, in the next preceding election year, at least 7,500 votes were cast in the general election for a candidate of such party for any such office or for its candidates for electors of President and Vice President.

(i)(1) Each individual in a primary election for candidate for the office of Delegate, Chairman of the Council, at-large member of the Council, Mayor, or Attorney General shall be nominated for any such office by a petition:

(A) Filed with the Board not later than 90 days before the date of such primary election; and

(B) Signed by at least 2,000 registered qualified electors of the same political party as the nominee, or by 1 per centum of the duly registered members of such political party, whichever is less, as shown by the records of the Board as of the 144th day before the date of such election.

(2) Each individual in a primary election for candidate for the office of member of the Council (other than Chairman and at-large members) shall be nominated for such office by a petition filed with the Board not later than 90 days before the date of such primary election, and signed by at least 250 persons, or by 1 per centum of persons (whichever is less, in the ward from which such individual seeks election) who are duly registered in such ward under § 1-1001.07 and who are of the same political party as the nominee.

(3) For the purpose of computing nominating petition signature requirements, the Board shall by noon on the 144th day preceding the election post and make available the exact number of qualified registered electors in the District by party, ward, and precinct, as provided in this subsection. The Board shall make available for public inspection, in the office of the Board, the entire list of registered electors upon which such count was based. Such list shall be retained by the Board until the period for circulating, filing, and challenging petitions has ended.

(4) A nominating petition for a candidate in a primary election for any such office may not be circulated for signature before the 144th day preceding the date of such election and may not be filed with the Board before the 115th day preceding such date. The Board may prescribe rules with respect to the preparation and presentation of nominating petitions. The Board shall arrange the ballot of each political party in each such primary election as to enable a voter of such party to vote for nominated candidates of that party.

(j)(1) A duly qualified candidate for the office of Delegate, Chairman of the Council, member of the Council, Mayor, or Attorney General, may, subject to the provisions of this subsection, be nominated directly as such a candidate for election for such office (including any such election to be held to fill a vacancy). Such person shall be nominated by petition: (A) Filed with the Board not less than 90 days before the date of such general election; and (B) In the case of a person who is a candidate for the office of member of the Council (other than the Chairman or an at-large member), signed by 500 voters who are duly registered under § 1-1001.07 in the ward from which the candidate seeks election; and in the case of a person who is a candidate for the office of Delegate, Chairman of the Council, at-large member of the Council, Mayor, or Attorney General, signed by duly registered voters equal in number to 11/2 per centum of the total number of registered voters in the District, as shown by the records of the Board as of 144 days before the date of such election, or by 3,000 persons duly registered under § 1-1001.07, whichever is less. No signatures on such a petition may be counted which have been made on such petition more than 144 days before the date of such election.

(2) Nominations under this subsection for candidates for election in a general election to any office referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall be of no force and effect with respect to any person whose name has appeared on the ballot of a primary election for that office held within 8 months before the date of such general election.

(3) No person shall be nominated directly as a candidate in any general election for the office of Delegate, Chairman of the Council, member of the Council, Mayor, Attorney General, United States Senator, or United States Representative who is registered to vote as affiliated with a party qualified to conduct a primary election.

(j-1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, and pursuant to the June 4, 2014 Order of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals in Zukerberg v. D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics, et al., No. 14-CV-222, the Board shall conduct the 2014 election of the Attorney General consistent with the procedural requirements for a special election under this subchapter, and shall have the election of the Attorney General coincide with the November 4, 2014, general election.

(k)(1) In each general election for the office of member of the Council (other than the office of the Chairman or an at-large member), the Board shall arrange the ballots in each ward to enable a voter registered in that ward to vote for any 1 candidate who:

(A) Has been duly elected by any political party in the next preceding primary election for such office from such ward;

(B) Has been duly nominated to fill a vacancy in such office in such ward pursuant to § 1-1001.10(d); or

(C) Has been nominated directly as a candidate for such office in such ward under subsection (j) of this section.

(2) In each general election for the office of Chairman and member of the Council at large, the Board shall arrange the ballots to enable a registered qualified elector to vote for as many candidates for election as members at large as there are members at large to be elected in such election, including the Chairman. Such candidates shall be only those persons who:

(A) Have been duly elected by any political party in the next preceding primary election for such office;

(B) Have been duly nominated to fill vacancies in such office pursuant to § 1-1001.10(d); or

(C) Have been nominated directly as a candidate under subsection (j) of this section.

(3) In each general election for the office of Delegate, Mayor, and Attorney General, the Board shall arrange the ballots to enable a registered qualified elector to vote for any 1 of the candidates for any such office who:

(A) Has been duly elected by any political party in the next preceding primary election for such office;

(B) Has been duly nominated to fill a vacancy in such office pursuant to § 1-1001.10(d), or, in the case of the Attorney General, pursuant to § 1-204.35(b); or

(C) Has been nominated directly as a candidate under subsection (j) of this section.

(l)(1) Designation of offices of local party committees to be filled by election pursuant to paragraph (4) of § 1-1001.01 shall be effected, in accordance with the provision of this subsection, by written communication signed by the chairperson of such committee and filed with the Board not later than 180 days before the date of such election.

(2) The notification shall specify separately:

(A) A comprehensive plan for the scheduled election;

(B) The titles of the offices and the total number of members to be elected at large, if any;

(C) The title of the offices and the total number of members to be elected by ward, if any; and

(D) The procedures to be followed in nominating and electing these members.

(3) Repealed.

(m) The election of the members of the State Board of Education shall be conducted on a nonpartisan basis and in accordance with this subchapter.

(n) Each candidate in a general or special election for member of the State Board of Education shall be nominated for such office by a nominating petition: (A) Filed with the Board not later than the 90th calendar day before the date of such general or special election; and (B) signed by at least 200 qualified electors who are duly registered under § 1-1001.07, who reside in the school district or ward from which the candidate seeks election, or in the case of a candidate running at large, signed by at least 1,000 of the qualified electors in the District of Columbia registered under such § 1-1001.07. A nominating petition for a candidate in a general or special election for member of the State Board of Education may not be circulated for signatures before the 144th day preceding the date of such election and may not be filed with the Board before the 115th day preceding such date. In a general or special election for members of the State Board of Education, the Board shall arrange the ballot for each school district or ward to enable a voter registered in that school district or ward to vote for any 1 candidate duly nominated to be elected to such office from such school district or ward, and to vote for as many candidates duly nominated for election at large to such office as there are State Board of Education members to be elected at large in such election.

(o)(1) The Board is authorized to accept any nominating petition for a candidate for any office as bona fide with respect to the qualifications of the signatures thereto if the original or facsimile thereof has been posted in a suitable public place for a 10-day period beginning on the third day after the filing deadline for nominating petitions for the office. Any registered qualified elector may within the 10-day period challenge the validity of any petition by written statement signed by the challenger and filed with the Board and specifying concisely the alleged defects in the petition. A copy of the challenge shall be sent by the Board promptly to the person designated for the purpose in the nominating petition. In a special election to fill a vacancy in an Advisory Neighborhood Commission single-member district, the period prescribed in this paragraph for posting and challenge shall be 5 days, excluding weekends and holidays.

(2) The Board shall receive evidence in support of and in opposition to the challenge and shall determine the validity of the challenged nominating petition not more than 20 days after the challenge has been filed. Within 3 days after announcement of the determination of the Board with respect to the validity of the nominating petition, either the challenger or any person named in the challenged petition as a nominee may apply to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals for a review of the reasonableness of such determination. The Court shall expedite consideration of the matter and the decision of such Court shall be final and not appealable.

(2A) Repealed.

(3) For the purpose of verifying a signature on any petition filed pursuant to this section, the Board shall first determine if the address on the petition is the same as the address shown of the signer's voter registration record. If the address is different than the address which appears on the signer's registration record, the address shall be deemed valid if:

(A) The signer's current address is within the single member district for an Advisory Neighborhood Commission election, within the school district for a school board election, within the ward for a ward-wide election, or within the District of Columbia for an at-large election; and

(B) The signer files a change of address form with the Board during the first 10 days of the period designated for resolving challenges to petitions.

(p) In any election, the order in which the names of the candidates for office appear on the ballot shall be determined by lot, upon a date or dates and under regulations prescribed by the Board.

(q) Any petition required to be filed under this subchapter by a particular date must be filed no later than 5:00 p.m. on such date.

(r)(1) In any primary, general, or special election held in the District of Columbia to nominate or elect candidates to public office, a voter may cast a write-in vote for a candidate other than those who have qualified to appear on the ballot.

(2) To be eligible to receive the nomination of a political party for public office, a write-in candidate shall be a duly registered member of the party nominated and shall meet all the other qualifications required for election to the office and shall declare the candidate's candidacy not later than 4:45 p.m. on the third day immediately following the date of the election on a form or forms prescribed by the Board.

(3) To be eligible for election to public office, a write-in candidate shall be a duly registered elector and shall meet all of the other qualifications required for election to the office and shall declare the candidate's candidacy not later than 4:45 p.m. on the seventh day immediately following the date of the election in which the candidate was a candidate on a form or forms prescribed by the Board.

(4) In party office elections, write-in voting provisions may also be subject to the party rules.

(s) The Board shall submit to the Mayor and Council a feasibility study of mail-ballot voting procedures, within 6 months after October 21, 2000. The study shall outline the advantages and disadvantages of mail-ballot procedures and recommend whether mail-ballot procedures should be implemented in District of Columbia elections. The study shall include an analysis of the following issues and topics that the Board deems appropriate:

(1) Administration and logistics;

(2) Ballot integrity and electoral fairness;

(3) Voter turnout;

(4) Cost;

(5) Applicability to special elections and regularly scheduled elections; and

(6) The experiences of other jurisdictions that have used mail-ballot procedures.


(Aug. 12, 1955, 69 Stat. 701, ch. 862, § 8; Oct. 4, 1961, 75 Stat. 818, Pub. L. 87-389, § 1 (12, 13); Apr. 22, 1968, 82 Stat. 103, Pub. L. 90-292, § 4(5); Sept. 22, 1970, 84 Stat. 849, Pub. L. 91-405, title II, §§ 203(b), 205(b), (e)(2), (f); Dec. 23, 1971, 85 Stat. 790, Pub. L. 92-220, § 1(9)-(16), (32)-(34); Aug. 14, 1973, 87 Stat. 312, Pub. L. 93-92, § 1(8)-(14); Dec. 24, 1973, 87 Stat. 833, Pub. L. 93-198, title VII, § 751(3); Aug. 14, 1974, 88 Stat. 458, Pub. L. 93-376, title III, § 306(a); Sept. 2, 1976, D.C. Law 1-79, title I, § 102(7)-(12), 23 DCR 2050; Apr. 23, 1977, D.C. Law 1-126, title III, § 301(j), title IV, § 402, 24 DCR 2372; Mar. 16, 1982, D.C. Law 4-88, § 2(f), (o)-(s), 29 DCR 458; July 1, 1982, D.C. Law 4-120, § 2(c), 29 DCR 2064; Aug. 2, 1983, D.C. Law 5-17, § 5(d), 30 DCR 3196; Mar. 16, 1988, D.C. Law 7-92, § 3(h)-(k), 35 DCR 716; Dec. 10, 1991, D.C. Law 9-49, § 2(a), 38 DCR 6572; Mar. 11, 1992, D.C. Law 9-75, § 2(c), 39 DCR 310; Sept. 22, 1994, D.C. Law 10-173, § 2(c), 41 DCR 5154; Mar. 23, 1995, D.C. Law 10-254, § 3, 42 DCR 758; April 5, 2000, D.C. Law 13-78, § 2, 46 DCR 10440; July 18, 2000, D.C. Law 13-149, § 5(a), 47 DCR 4639; Oct. 21, 2000, D.C. Law 13-177,§ 2, 47 DCR 6842; Oct. 2, 2001, D.C. Law 14-26, § 2, 48 DCR 6344; Oct. 13, 2001, D.C. Law 14-30, § 2, 48 DCR 7087; Oct. 26, 2001, D.C. Law 14-43, § 2, 48 DCR 7631; Mar. 13, 2004, D.C. Law 15-105, § 24, 51 DCR 881; Dec. 7, 2004, D.C. Law 15-211, § 3, 51 DCR 8805; June 5, 2012, D.C. Law 19-137, § 201(a)(2), 59 DCR 2542; Oct. 17, 2013, D.C. Law 20-31, § 2(b), 60 DCR 11535; Dec. 13, 2013, D.C. Law 20-60, § 301(a), 60 DCR 15487; Dec. 17, 2014, D.C. Law 20-143, § 2, 61 DCR 8057; Feb. 26, 2015, D.C. Law 20-155, § 1162, 61 DCR 9990; Mar. 3, 2015, D.C. Law 20-167, § 2(c), 61 DCR 10738; May 2, 2015, D.C. Law 20-273, § 2(c), 62 DCR 1938; June 24, 2020, D.C. Law 23-192, § 2(g), 68 DCR 1073.)