D.C. Mobile Voting Coalition and Councilmember Brooke Pinto. Photo by Alex Lawler

The D.C. Mobile Voting Coalition held a press conference April 19 to pressure Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen to schedule a hearing on the Mobile VOTE Act.

Introduced by Councilmember Brooke Pinto and co-introduced by Chairman Mendelson and six others in February of this year, the bill would allow District residents to cast votes on their electronic devices. 

“Councilperson Allen, let’s start the process,” Tajuan Farmer of the National Federation of the Blind District of Columbia told the crowd. “Let’s ensure that the people’s voices are heard.”

Rev. Graylan Hagler, a senior pastor at the Plymouth United Church of Christ, said the bill would boost voter turnout by expanding access to workers who can’t get away from their jobs to cast a ballot. He also said it would assist people with disabilities and people with limited English proficiency. 

“You want to enlarge the participation,” Hagler said in an interview with Street Sense Media. “You want to hold the city council and the mayor accountable. The less people you have participating, the less accountability there is.”

In 2020, 28% of registered voters cast ballots during the primary and 67% voted in the general election in the District, according to The Washington Post. This signals room for improvement, Councilmember Pinto told the crowd. 

“What that tells us is we need to make voting more accessible,” Pinto said. 

The bill calls on election administrators to adopt a mobile voting system by Jan. 1, 2024. It also calls for designing a system that would affirm a voter’s identity, signature and registration. The bill would require the establishment of an auditing system to report security threats, as well.