Voting in Massachusetts

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General Information
Election DatesPoll Opening and Closing Times
Voting in 2014 Primaries
Ballot access for major and minor party candidates

Absentee voting • Early voting 
Open Primary • Closed Primary • Blanket Primary
Online voter registration in the 50 states
This page has information relating to voting in Massachusetts. For full information contact your state election agency.

Registration

Massachusetts has a mixed primary system. Registered Democrats and Republicans can only vote for their own party in the primary but Independent voters may decide which party they would like to vote for.

To vote in Massachusetts, you must meet the following requirements:[1]

  • a US citizen, and
  • a resident of Massachusetts, and
  • 18 years old on or before election day (must still meet registration deadlines set forth below)

When and where

The deadline for registration is 20 days prior to the election. You can register to vote in the following ways:[1]

  • in person or by mail, by completing a mail-in registration form and delivering it to your city or town election office, or
  • at any local election office in any city or town in the state and at any registration event you encounter anywhere in Massachusetts, or
  • when applying for or renewing your driver's license at the Registry of Motor Vehicles or when applying for service at a designated voter registration agency. Registration forms are also available at all colleges, universities, high schools and vocational schools.

Online registration

See also: Online voter registration in the 50 states

As of July 2014, Massachusetts is one of the 35 states that have not implemented online voter registration. Massachusetts has bills pending in the 2013 legislative session which would authorize online voter registration. One bill was introduced in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.[2]. A separate bill was introduced in the Massachusetts Senate.[3]

Voting on election day

Electors must present valid identification which must include the voter's name and address. [4]

Poll times

See also: State Poll Opening and Closing Times

In Massachusetts, most polling places are open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM. However, municipalities may open as early as 5:45 AM..[5].[6]

Absentee voting

Eligibility

You are eligible to vote absentee in an election if you cannot make it to the polls on election day for one of the following reasons:[7]

  • you will be absent from your city or town on election day, and/or
  • you have a physical disability that prevents your voting at the polling place, and/or
  • you cannot vote at the polls due to religious beliefs

Deadlines

To vote absentee a request must be received by noon on the day before the election. The ballot must then be returned by the close of polls on election day.[7]

Military and overseas voting

For full details, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program here.

Early voting

Massachusetts is one of 8 states which allow early voting but require an excuse to vote early. Early voting begins as soon as absentee ballots become available.

To vote early you need to provide an excuse for why you will be unable to vote at the polls during normal voting hours. The following are valid reasons:[8]

  • you will be away from your city or town on election day
  • you have a disability that prevents you from voting at the polls
  • you cannot vote on election day due to religious beliefs

Beginning in 2016, all voters will be entitled to cast ballots in November general elections early (up to 11 days prior to the election date). The state will also permit voting by mail.[9]

See also

External links

References