Washington, D.C. signature requirements

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Signature requirements in the District of Columbia are based on percentages of the number of currently registered voters. Washington, D.C. allows initiative, referendum, and recall.

The supporters of an initiative have 180 days to gather signatures from the time the language for their initiative is approved by the Washington, D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics. Supporters of a veto referendum are required to collect their signatures before the end of the Congressional Review Period.

Method of calculating signatures

  • For initiative or referendum, signatures must equal at least 5% of the number of registered voters in the municipality. This number is based on an official count, issued 30 days before the submission of signatures.

Distribution requirement

See also: Distribution requirement
  • Signatures must be distributed throughout DC's eight wards, so that 5% of the registered voters in at least 5 of the 8 wards sign the petition.


  • Signatures must equal 10% of registered voters in election district that the officer to be recalled represents (citywide, ward, or ANC). This figure is determined by published results 30 days before submission of signatures.
  • In a citywide recall, signatures must be equal to 10% of voters in 5 of the city's 8 election wards in addition to gathering the 10% citywide.

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