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  • Writer's pictureFrank Cervarich

So, what's on the ballot? 2020 DC edition

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

Hey DC! It's our chance to vote, too! We didn't get voting rights until the 60s - so let's use them.

I posted a brief election summary in previous elections, and people seemed to find it useful, so I’m doing one again. FWIW, I know that finding information about our local candidates is hard to come by (don't get me started - it's criminal how little information we get as voters here). I've done a bit of research, and I thought I'd share what I know in a brief blog post in case it's helpful to know the narrative and stakes for each race. I'm not sharing my ballot here, but if you want to know how I voted, shoot me a text/message and we can talk about it.

Also - fun fact about DC: since it’s a Democratic stronghold, often the primaries offer more action than the general election! I believe that’s true for this election, but there are a few important things we are voting on this year.

I'm a Ward 4 Democrat, so here are the things I had to vote on:

  • Electors of President and Vice President of the United States – Fun fact! Technically we are voting for the people who will represent us at the electoral college, hence the tricky wording on the header of vote. Anywho, apparently some guy named Trump is running against another guy named Biden. The Biden guy will probably win DC.

  • Delegate for the House of Representatives - This is the person we elect to represent us in Congress. Norton has represented DC for decades and the other candidates running against her are not considered to be major threats to her re-election effort.

  • At-Large Member of the Council - This is the most complex race of all the races on the ballot. There are 24 or so candidates running for these two seats. I would strongly recommend doing the most amount of research about this race.

  • Ward Four Member of the Council – This seat was pretty much decided in the primary earlier this year. Janeese is expected to sail to victory.

  • United States Senator – “But Frank, DC doesn’t have a Senate seat,” you may say. Yes, that is true. But we do have two “shadow senators” who act as advocates for DC statehood. Strauss is running for re-election.

  • United States Representative – “But Frank, I already voted for our House rep,” you may say. Yes, that is ~also~ true. But, we do have a second “shadow representative.” This position is not formally recognized (just like the “shadow senator”).

  • At-Large Member of the State Board of Education – This is a race that is near and dear to my heart. People across the city will vote for the at-large seats, including board of education members. This is the regulatory body that oversees DCPS. Fun fact: In 2016, the only Republican to win office in DC was Ashley MacLeay, who ran and won this seat.

  • Ward Four Member of the State Board of Education – This is the seat to represent the people of Ward 4. Frazier O’Leary is running unopposed. I’d say he has a pretty good shot!

  • Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner – In DC, the local government bodies are Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANC). ANC districts are pretty small - usually a few blocks. In this part of the ballot, you are voting for one of your neighbors to serve on a legislative body. The powers of ANCs are pretty limited, but they do approve zoning/etc., so who you vote for matters. Since this is hyper-local, I can’t provide much information about who to vote for here. In my ANC, which is ANC 4C08, Charlie Sinks and Clara Haskell Botstein are on the ballot.

  • Initiative Measure No. 81 – The question at stake in this measure is whether or not DC will decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms. A yes vote means that you support this change, no means that you do not support this change.

Fun fact from our friends at NPR: This is “the third-straight election cycle where D.C. voters have weighed in on policy matters. In 2014, voters approved Initiative 71, which legalized the possession and personal use of small amounts of marijuana. In 2016, they endorsed the city's fight for statehood. And in 2018, they backed Initiative 77, which would have phased out the city's tipped wage. That measure was later overturned by the D.C. Council.”


  • The ones to watch: At-Large Member of the Council, At-Large Member of the State Board of Education, Initiative Measure No. 81

  • Potential stunners: At-Large Member of the Council, At-Large Member of the State Board of Education.

  • The one where people will be mad either way: Initiative Measure No. 81.

Helpful resources:


At-Large Council Seat

At-Large Member of the State Board of Education

Initiative Measure No. 81

Happy voting, all!

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