WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - At Thursday's press conference with city officials, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser reported nine additional coronavirus deaths and 153 new positive cases of COVID-19. Since the outbreak began, 81 people have died in the District from the coronavirus and 2,350 have tested positive.
D.C. leaders are urging all residents to request an absentee ballot ahead of the city's June primary and special elections as the District continues to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
The 144 precincts that usually act as voting places will not be open on Election Day this year. Instead, the District will open 20 voting centers from May 22 through June 2 to accommodate voters from any Ward in the nation's capital.
(Photo by MEGAN JELINGER/AFP via Getty Images)
Michael F. Bennet, chair of the D.C. Board of Elections, said that while there will be at least two voting centers open in each ward for the June 2 primary, he encouraged all voters to request mail-in ballots.
Bennet said 15,000 requests had already been received, calling the number “a pretty good start” in a city with 460,000 registered voters.
“We’re really very focused on making sure you can vote safely,” he said. “Please do everything by mail.”
The voting centers will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day and social distancing measures will be enforced. Those voting in person will be required to wear face coverings inside the voting centers.
“We take seriously our responsibility to administer elections that protect the public and our workers while ensuring every vote is counted. To that end, today we kick off Vote Safe DC to ensure every voter is informed about how these changes impact them. The campaign will reach District voters via the mediums they use most, including digital, print, broadcast, and other platforms. In addition to this effort, DCBOE is partnering with members of the community through virtual roundtables and trainings to get the word out about the mail-in ballot process and ensure that every registered voter can safely cast their ballot in our upcoming elections”, said Bennet.
For the June 16 Ward 2 Special Election, vote centers will open beginning Friday, June 12 and will remain open through Election Day.Residents who have yet to complete their 2020 Census can do so online without any person-to-person contact.
Rachel Coll, spokesperson for the DC Board of Elections, spoke with FOX 5's Blake McCoy about the changes on Friday. Watch below: