DC voter guide: 2022 election — what you need to know

Election season is here. D.C. voters have a lot to consider during the 2022 Midterm Elections, with races for the city’s next mayor, members of the D.C. Council and more.

Mark your calendar: Election Day 2022 falls on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

From how to vote early, deadlines to be aware of, to what’s on the ballot, here’s what you need to know.

Where, when and how to vote

Dates at a glance:

  • Drop boxes open: Oct. 14 until 8 p.m. on Election Day
  • Registration deadline: Oct. 18
  • In-person early voting: Oct. 31 to Nov. 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Election Day, Nov. 8: Polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Voting at home:

The city started mailing ballots to all registered voters at their D.C. addresses in early October — so unless you’re voting from outside the District, there’s no need to request one. Because mail-in ballots are going out automatically, it’s critical that you make sure everything is in order with your voter registration. Click here to check your registration information.

If you’re not registered to vote yet, you have until Tuesday, Oct. 18 to do so, with online, mail, email or fax options. Click here to find out how. If you’ll be away from your D.C. residence during the election, you can request an absentee ballot before Monday, Oct. 24.

Like the last election, voters will be able to deposit their completed ballots in drop boxes placed throughout the city starting Friday, Oct. 14, until 8 p.m. on Election Day. See here for where to find a drop box near you, or use D.C.’s interactive map.

You can mail in your vote, too, as long as it’s postmarked no later than Nov. 8. Keep in mind that the D.C. Board of Elections won’t count mailed-in ballots it receives after Nov. 15. Concerns? You can reach the board at 202-727-2525.

Voted already? Kudos for being an upstanding citizen! Track your mail-in ballot’s status.

Voting in-person:

If you’d rather vote in person this year, D.C.’s early voting centers swing open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31 through Sunday, Nov. 6. See a list of early voting centers and their current status; there are at least a couple in every ward.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. through 8 p.m. on Election Day. Voters can cast their ballot at any of the city’s 65 day-of voting centers, regardless of which ward they live in.

If you missed the Oct. 18 registration deadline, don’t fret: Same-day registration is available at early voting centers and on Election Day. If you’re registering to vote on the spot, you’ll need to complete an application and present valid proof of residence.

District law allows workers up to two hours of paid leave from their scheduled shift to vote in person. Students who are registered to vote can also request time off from class. But remember: Your employer or school can still specify the hours during which you can go vote, like requiring you to vote early instead of on Election Day.

Who’s on the ballot?

Names are shown below in the order they’ll appear on the ballot, along with a link to each candidate’s campaign website if available. For reference, current officeholders are listed in bold. Here’s where you find sample ballots specific to your neighborhood.


Attorney General:

DC Council:

At-large member

Voters may select up to two candidates.

Ward 1
Ward 3
Ward 5
Ward 6


Delegate to the House of Representatives
Shadow representative
  • Joyce Robinson-Paul (DC Statehood Green)
  • Oye Owolewa (Democrat)

Board of Education:

Candidates have no listed party affiliation. There are no incumbents on the ballot.

Ward 1
Ward 3
Ward 5
Ward 6

Ballot measures

Voters will get their say on Initiative 82, also known as the Increase Minimum Wage for Tipped Employees Measure, which would incrementally up the sub-minimum wage for the District’s tipped workers from its current rate — $5.35 per hour, as of this July — until it matches the base wage for non-tipped workers by 2027, with tips on top.

Initiative 82 seeks to phase out the so-called tip credit, which lets employers count a portion of a worker’s tips earned every hour toward D.C.’s minimum wage of $16.10.

The measure’s chief proponent is the D.C. Committee to Build a Better Restaurant Industry, which describes itself as being “organized by current and former tipped workers as well as concerned citizens who believe in eliminating the archaic tip credit.” The campaign argues that the tip credit hurts the District’s tipped workers at bars, restaurants, salons and more by providing a legal route for wage theft, and calls the system a relic of slavery.

Critics, including the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, assert that passing the measure would place an undue burden on small businesses, reduce take-home pay for workers and result in higher prices. The Vote No on 82 campaign claims Initiative 82 “would dramatically change the way D.C. restaurants and bars do business.”

If all this sounds familiar, you’d be right — voters passed a similar measure, Initiative 77, in 2018, only for it to be overturned months later by the D.C. Council, which deemed its wording deceptive. But with a different council in charge now, Initiative 82’s supporters say that’s unlikely to happen again.

You can read Initiative 82 in the form it’ll appear on the ballot here.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

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