Voting in Massachusetts

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This page has information relating to voting in Massachusetts. For full information contact your state election agency.

Registration

Massachusetts has a mixed primary system. Unaffiliated voters are allowed to vote in the primary election. They may choose which party ballot they wish to vote on and still remain unaffiliated.[1]

To vote in Massachusetts, you must meet the following requirements:[2]

  • 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:[2]

  • 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 January 2015, Massachusetts is one of the 30 states that have not implemented full online voter registration. Massachusetts had bills pending in the 2013 legislative session which would have authorized online voter registration. One bill was introduced in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.[3] A separate bill was introduced in the Massachusetts Senate.[4]

Voting on election day

Electors must present valid identification which must include the voter's name and address.[5]

Poll times

See also: State Poll Opening and Closing Times

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

Absentee voting

See also: Absentee voting

Eligibility

You are eligible to vote absentee in an election if you cannot make it to the polls on election day because you:[7]

  • will be absent from your city or town on election day, and/or
  • have a physical disability that prevents your voting at the polling place, and/or
  • cannot vote at the polls due to religious beliefs.[8]

—Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

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 regarding military and overseas voting, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

Early voting

See also: Early voting

Massachusetts is one of eight 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 qualify for an absentee ballot.

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]

2014 developments

On January 16, 2014, the Massachusetts State Senate approved a significant overhaul to the state's voting laws. The legislation proposes to allow for no-excuse early voting to take place beginning 10 days before an election. The legislation will also create an online voter registration system and will allow residents to register to vote on election day.[10][11]

The bill, H. 3788, passed the Senate by a 37-1 vote and moved to the House. Pending successful negotiations to reconcile H. 3788 with a similar bill passed by the House in 2013, Governor Deval Patrick has suggested he will sign the bill into law.[10][11][12]

See also

External links

References