Ward 6: Three Important Updates (8-19-20)

I hope this month is a chance for you and your family to find some rest before the end of summer. The Council is on recess for the month of August and I'll be taking a little time off to rest up for the fall. My team will still be responding to constituents, moving projects forward, and generally available to assist. Council meetings, hearings, and votes will resume in September. In the meantime, there's a few urgent pieces of info I want to get in front of you.

2020 Census - DC is in trouble: I don't mean to sound alarmist, but the District is way behind where we were at this point in the 2010 Census and if we don't catch up quickly, we're at serious risk of losing out on a lot of federal funding moving forward. If you haven't completed the Census, you can do so right now online and in just 10 minutes. Click here: https://my2020census.gov/

The District currently has a response rate of 59.7%, which lags the national response rate of 63.2%. To make matters worse, the response window for the Census has been cut short by one month, ending September 30 now instead of October 31. Census workers are in the process of going door to door. We're about 20,000 households behind where we were in 2010 at this point. If you haven't responded yet, we really need you. If you have already responded, remind your friends and neighbors to do the same. Here's the link again: https://my2020census.gov/

Here's What You Need to Know About Voting in the General Election: The Board of Elections has announced a few major changes to how we typically vote, and I want to make sure you are aware of all of your options. From my perspective, there are two goals here: ensure every registered voter can vote, and ensure our Voting Centers are following best practices for public health. 

To that end, the Board of Elections will be mailing every registered voter a ballot in early October. This is different than the Primary, where you had to request your ballot be sent to you. Here's what you need to do: 

Confirm your address is correct with the Board of Elections herehttps://www.dcboe.org/Voters/Register-To-Vote/Check-Voter-Registration-Status

  • You may have received a confusing mailer asking to confirm your address or provide information. It was poorly designed, and if you tear along the perforated line, you'll notice the return slip doesn't include some crucial information: what address it was sent to! BOE has asked anyone needing to use the form to update (if your address was correct there's no step to take) to just fold the form and tape it if need be instead.

Look for your ballot in the mail the first or second week of October.

How to return your ballot: Given the very real concerns over the President's undermining of the US Postal Service, I'd like to highlight two ways you can easily and safely return your ballot: 

  • There will be 50 secure drop boxes around the District. Ballots in these drop boxes will be collected twice a day by BOE. In Ward 6, those locations will be: 
    • Shaw (Watha T. Daniel) Library: 1630 7th Street, NW
    • Northeast Library: 330 7th Street, NE
    • Rosedale Library: 1701 Gales Street, NE
    • Southwest Library: 425 M Street, SW
    • Eastern Market: 225 7th Street, SE
    • BOE Headquarters: 1015 Half Street, SE
  • You can return it to any Early Voting location Oct 27 - Nov 2. In Ward 6, that's Sherwood Rec Center (640 10th St., NE) and Greenleaf Rec Center (201 N St., SW). Here's the full list of early voting locations and all 80 Voting Centers
  • Or you can drop it in the mail. The postage is prepaid. I would strongly recommend doing it early to ensure it gets back to BOE with plenty of time to spare.

How to Vote In-Person: Of course, the District will also offer early voting and election day voting, though it will again operate differently. I strongly recommend taking advantage of your ballot being mailed to your home, but if you prefer in-person, here's what you need to know. 

  1. Take Advantage of Early Voting (Oct 27 - Nov 2) to Avoid Long Lines: We saw in June that Election Day is still the most popular day to vote. I'll tell you right now - the Vote Centers are a lot quieter and quicker if you go during Early Voting! Every Ward has two early Vote Centers that will operate October 27 thru Nov 2 from 8:30 am to 7 pm. 
  2. General Election Vote Centers: If you haven't mailed in your ballot or taken advantage of Early Voting, there will be at least 80 Vote Centers open on Tuesday, November 3, from 7 am to 8 pm. You can vote at ANY Vote Center. Here's the full list. As mentioned above, you can expect the longest lines on Election Day.

Is Your Student Ready For Distance Learning This Fall? The new DC Public Schools year starts on August 31, and all instruction will be online until at least November 6. If you haven't already, please make sure you complete the DCPS technology survey so they can ensure all students have the devices and broadband access they need to learn in this new virtual school environment. If you aren't sure if the device you already have will work for online school (Kindle Fires, for example, won't run all the programs needed), DCPS has put together a guide to the technology needs by grade level that's helpful for planning for the coming year. Click here to learn about the applications your student will be using and what devices work well. Need help getting the right device? Contact your school leadership. 

Thanks and keep wearing your mask, 

Charles Allen

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