Voting in Massachusetts
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To vote in Massachusetts, you must meet the following requirements:
- 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:
- 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.
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. A separate bill was introduced in the Massachusetts Senate.
Voting on election day
Electors must present valid identification which must include the voter's name and address.
- See also: State Poll Opening and Closing Times
- See also: Absentee voting
You are eligible to vote absentee in an election if you cannot make it to the polls on election day because you:
—Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
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.
Military and overseas voting
For full details regarding military and overseas voting, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
- 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.
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.
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.
- Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Website, "Massachusetts Directory of Political Parties and Designations," accessed January 3, 2014
- Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, "Voter Registration Information," accessed June 10, 2014
- Open States, "H 581," accessed June 10, 2014
- Open States, "S 313," accessed June 10, 2014
- Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, "Election Day Legal Summary," accessed June 10, 2014
- Massachusetts General Laws, "Title 8 - Chapter 54 - Section 64," accessed January 3, 2014
- Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, "Absentee Ballot Information," accessed December 19, 2013
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- MassLive, "Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signs early voting into law," May 22, 2014
- ThinkProgress, "Massachusetts on Cusp of Passing Major Voting Rights Expansion," January 17, 2014
- MassLive.com, "Massachusetts Senate approves early voting bill," January 16, 2014
- The News Times, "Mass. Senate approves bill to allow early voting," January 16, 2014