Important Information About Curfew and Absentee Ballots
Last night was chilling. It was downright frightening to hear and see the almost totalitarian words and actions of Trump, and then experience its impact, by sitting in our homes listening to the whirring of combat helicopters and watching combat vehicles encircling our city.
As a local elected official, I always think about what actions I can take and what impact I can have. We are the nation’s capital, and we need to be the model of safeguarding the First Amendment right to free speech and peaceful protest. Our Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has put in place many trainings, reforms, and lessons learned from Pershing Park and other protests, so I was also disturbed by reports in the press, in social media, and of on-the-ground phone calls I made to hear about actions taken by MPD in response to protesters who remained out after the curfew.
Particularly, I am concerned about the tactics used at 15th and Swann Street NW and alleged reports of officers blocking alleyways to prevent exit.
The murder of George Floyd is angering, particularly for Black and Latino residents who worry daily they could be put in a similar circumstance because of the color of their skin. The very real issue of police brutality and excessive use of force targeting people of color in our country is cancerous, and protests like the ones we are seeing in our city and others is part of the solution in moving toward justice and healing.
I am also very disturbed by the violent activity, including fires set, vandalism and looting that has taken place over the last few days. It is heartbreaking to see our city boarded up and many windows smashed and small businesses damaged. I understand that MPD wanted the curfew to be able to protect residents and isolate the violent actors.
Tonight, I and members of my staff will be joining the Office of Police Complaints observation team to document and do oversight over MPD’s response to the protests and curfew. It’s not usually how I would spend an Election Night, but I think this is incredibly important to our city and our democracy.
That’s my awkward segue to Election Day: This is It! Today is the day. If you have an absentee ballot, you need to have it postmarked by today or drop it off at one of DC’s 20 Voting Centers. Voting Centers are open till 8pm tonight.
Many of you requested a ballot, but it never came in the mail. If that is the case, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and cc: me at email@example.com. If DC Board of Elections received your request but you never got your ballot, the Board is giving voters in this case the option of having a ballot emailed to them. More information below.
Finally, I know many of you disagree with the two-day curfew Mayor Bowser ordered, which is again in place from 7pm tonight until 6am tomorrow. I expressed my concerns to the administration that this is confusing for voters, given the polls remain open until 8pm, but the Mayor is not moving the time. If you need to vote between 7pm and 8pm, that is considered an essential activity. Please talk to my office if you have concerns.
More information below on the curfew and voting.
Stay safe, DC.
CURFEW IN PLACE TONIGHT AND TOMORROW
A curfew will be in place tonight, Tuesday, June 2 from 7pm until 6am. The curfew will not be in effect during the day.
At all times the curfew will exclude the following persons:
- Essential workers
- Voters and poll workers
Here is the text of the Mayor’s order. It is confusing. I expressed my concerns about the curfew and voting on a call with the Administration and was told voters need only to explain their cause for being out to the officer on site. I sincerely hope that no exempt residents will be stopped tonight or tomorrow or encounter any issues, but if you do please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mayor’s office has also provided a few additional pieces of information through official spokespersons:
- All non-essential District businesses must close after 7pm
- Anyone who violates the curfew could be charged a $300 fine or sentenced to up to 10 days in jail.
- No visits to hospitals or urgent care will be restricted. Travel will not be restricted.
Additionally, there are a few transit closures that residents should keep in mind so that they can get home safely:
- All Metrorail service will be suspended one hour early, at 8pm tonight. The last trains will leave downtown transfer stations at 8pm, and trains headed toward downtown will end service earlier.
- All Metrobus service will be suspended two hours early, at 9pm. Buses that are already running at 9pm will keep running until they reach the end of their lines. MetroAccess will not start any new trips after 9pm.
- Capital Bikeshare will close today at 7pm and reopen at 6am tomorrow morning. These hours of operation will continue through June 3, 2020.
- Capital Bikeshare stations within three blocks of the White House will be closed indefinitely. For a full list of stations impacted by these closures click here: https://capitalbikeshare.com/blog
All 20 of the District’s Voting Centers will be open until 8pm tonight. Again, if you requested an absentee ballot and it never arrived, you have two options: emailing email@example.com or going to vote in person. There is a curbside option at every Voting Center so you don’t have to leave your car or enter a building.
As a reminder:
- You can vote at ANY Voting Center across the District
- Your usual voting place may be closed, so please check the full list
- DC has same-day registration! You can register (and then vote) at any Voting Center
- Curbside voting is available for those with disabilities or health concerns