ARB Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. What is an Accessible Remote Ballot?
The Accessible Remote Ballot (ARB) is an electronic ballot marking system that allows voters with disabilities to vote privately and independently. It is compatible with all major screen readers (JAWS etc.), tactile switches, closed captioning, and audio-enabled systems. ARB is not an online voting system. Completed ballots must be printed, placed in the included postage prepaid envelope, and either mailed to the Board of Elections or dropped off in a Mail Ballot Drop Box or at a Vote Center. A voter verified paper ballot is always available for a post-election audit or recount if necessary. Voted ballots cannot be returned to the Board of Elections via email.
2. How does ARBwork?
Upon the receipt of a requestto usethe ARBMarking System, Board of Elections(DCBOE) staff will email the qualified voter a link to log into the ARB online portal using any smart device or computer. The voter will access and mark their ballot. The voter will then print the voted ballot and return it to the Board of Elections. If the voter receives assistance, they must complete and submit a Signature Attestation Form with their voted ballot.
3. Is the ARB accessible?
Yes. ARB complies with Section 508 of the ADA and WCAG 2.0.
4. Do all voters with disabilities have to vote using the ARB?
No. Voters with disabilities can choose to vote using the traditional mail-in ballot or in-person. (See Q7. below)
5. Do I have to have access to a smart device and printer to use the ARB?
Yes. You will need access to a smart device (computer, laptop, tablet, etc.) to mark your ballot. You will also need access to a printer because the voted ballot has to be printed and returned to the Board of Elections.
6. How do I return my ARB to the DCBOE?
You can return your voted ARB in one of the following ways:
7. What are my other voting options?
- By Mail: Give your Return Ballot Envelope (with your ARB inside) to your local postal carrier, or drop it off in any United States Postal Service (USPS) mailbox or at any post office. IMPORTANT: Mailed ballots must be postmarked by Election Day (Tuesday, November 3) and received at the DC Board of Elections (BOE) no later than the 10th day after Election Day. Due to USPS delays, it is recommended that you vote and mail your ballot as soon as possible to make sure it arrives on time.
- Place your voted ballot in any 24-hour secure Mail Ballot Drop Box: New this year, the Board has placed 55 secure Mail Ballot Drop Boxes throughout the District. You can drop off your voted ballot at any time until 8:00 pm on Election Day (Tuesday, November 3). BOE Staff will collect ballots daily.
- At any Vote Center (open during early voting and on Election Day): Early Vote Centers will be open from Tuesday, October 27 through Monday, November 2 between the hours of 8:30 am and 7:00 pm, and Election Day Vote Centers will be open on Tuesday, November 3 between the hours of 7:00 am and 8:00 pm. You may drop off your voted ballot at any Vote Center during the dates and times indicated without waiting in the in-person voting lines.
f you do not want to use the ARB marking system, you can vote using the traditional mail-in ballot or in-person at any Early Vote Center (open October 27 - November 2 between the hours of 8:30 am and 7:00 pm) or Election Day Vote Center (open November 3 between the hours of 7:00 am and 8:00 pm). Designated Vote Centers will also have curbside voting is also available for anyone over 65 years old.
8. Will the Board accept an electronic signature?
Yes, electronic signatures will beaccepted.
9. What happens if my signature on the ARB does not match my signature in the DCBOE voter registration system?
The Registrar of Voters will send the voter an affidavit to “cure” the signature defect.
10. Do I have to pay to use the ARB or for postage?
Every Registered voter in the District of Columbia will receive a postage prepaid return ballot envelope to return their voted ballot.
Applicable forms and resources: