WASHINGTON, DC – The D.C. Department of Corrections (DOC) proudly joined a small number of local jails throughout the region serving as official polling sites for inmates voting in primary and general elections. Through a partnership with the DC Board of Elections (BOE), voting machines were installed in both the Central Detention Facility (CDF) and Correctional Treatment Facility (CDF) with the voting process closely resembling that of voting sites throughout the city.
“Voting is a fundamental right, one that is integral to our democracy,” DOC Director Thomas Faust said. “It is important for DOC residents to exercise their right to positively impact our neighborhoods and communities even while incarcerated.”
This poll site designation and other voting enhancements came after the passage of the District’s Restore the Vote Amendment Act of 2020 (Restore the Vote), which also increased DOC’s pool of eligible voters. Now along with eligible misdemeanants, individuals incarcerated for a felony conviction and housed in DOC facilities were also able to cast their votes. Restore the Vote bolstered voter registration options for detainees to ensure those not registered are educated and given ample opportunity to register and then vote.
This critical legislation further upholds DC’s values and Mayor Muriel Bowser’s committed mission to offer fair and inclusive opportunities to all District residents regardless of their incarceration history or status.
Voting began, November 1st at 9 am and ended on Wednesday, November 2nd at 2 pm with BOE and DOC staff working together to facilitate a streamlined voting process. Poll watchers from partner organizations included the League of Women Voters, the Office of Human Rights, the Corrections Information Council, and Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants were also on
site to observe and ensure a smooth and unencumbered flow for voters. Each of these organizations has a long history with DOC offering invaluable support during all phases of the electoral process.
For the first time, DOC inmates, both males and females, were offered the option of joining the voting team as election workers—with pay equivalent to that offered workers in the community. “We are very proud of another milestone achieved during this election cycle” stated Director Faust. Twenty-two (22) individuals were selected to serve---all successfully completing BOE training on the fundamentals of the electoral process, voter registration, and voting equipment operations and assigned specific duties to be carried out during the
election. Those selected expressed pride in this accomplishment and look forward to using their transferable skills when returning to the community.
As part of this election process, for 2023 DOC also has an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (ANC) seat to be filled. There are 19 individuals running to replace the current ANC Commissioner, Joel Caston, who has reentered the community. Mr. Caston worked closely with the DOC team to educate candidates on the ANC roles and responsibilities which include being a spokesperson for the inmate and homeless populations, disseminating information, keeping abreast of issues and concerns, assisting with problem resolution, and acting as a model citizen and ambassador. The entire DOC team is appreciative of the work done by Commissioner Caston while incarcerated and now as a supportive member of the community.
For more information about the D.C. Department of Corrections visit doc.dc.gov
Tamika Gittens Public Affairs Specialist [email protected] (202) 671-2816