Registration Deadline: In order to vote you must be registered:
- 20 days before all primaries and elections, and/or
- 10 days before a special town meeting.
Party Affiliation: Massachusetts has a modified closed primary, meaning individuals who meet the following criteria can participate in the primary:
- You must be registered to vote.
- You must be enrolled as a Democrat or Republican; OR
- Are listed as Unenrolled (formerly known as ‘Independent’)
- The unenrolled may choose either a republican or democrat ballot at the polling place
VOTER REGISTRATION QUALIFICATIONS
Age: Must be 18 years old on or before Election Day
Citizenship: Must be a United States citizen
Residency: Must be a resident of Massachusetts
Mental Competency: A person who is under guardianship and determined to be incompetent is disqualified from voting.
Felony Convictions: Voting rights restored after release from prison
ID Requirements: If you are registering to vote or voting for the first time you must send identification that includes your name and the address at which you are registered to vote, some acceptable forms include:
-Current and valid driver's license;
-State issued identification card;
-Photo identification; or
-Current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or any other government document showing your name and address
OBTAINING A VOTER REGISTRATION FORM
Online: Fill out an online form (Spanish)
In person: Go to any registration location and complete an affidavit of registration, which must be answered truthfully under the penalty of perjury. The questions on the affidavit will include your name, residence and date of birth. Registration locations include any city or town clerk’s office or elections commission, as well as certain state agencies such as the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
By mail/ in writing: Mail-in registration forms are widely available. To obtain a mail-in registration form click here or please call 617-727-2828 or 1-800-462-VOTE and a form will be sent to you. Mail the completed form to your local election official. You should receive a confirmation notice in 2 to 3 weeks. If you do not, please contact your local election office to verify your voting status.
By fax: Contact your local election office for faxing options.
VERIFYING YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION STATUS
Verify here: Voter Registration Status
ABSENTEE BALLOT QUALIFICATIONS
Who can vote absentee: You may vote by absentee ballot if you:
- 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.
OBTAINING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT
Online: Download an absentee ballot application (Spanish)
In person: Visit your local election office, where forms are available to fill out in person.
By mail: Apply in writing to your city or town clerk or election commission and include your:
- address as registered,
- ward and precinct (if you know them),
- address where you wish the absentee ballot sent,
- in a primary, the party ballot you want, and
- your signature.
You may also mail a completed form to your local election office.
Military and overseas voting: If you are a UOCAVA citizen in the military or overseas you may register to vote and receive an absentee ballot by applying for the FOCA(Federal Post Card Application) and turning it in no later than noon the day before the election. Application and additional information can be found on Massahusett Military and Overseas US Citizens page.
Emergency Voting: Emergency voting is unavailable in Massachusetts
SUBMITTING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT
Location and time: To be counted, a completed ballot must be received by the time the polls close on Election Day.
If you are voting from outside the United States, your completed absentee ballot for a final state or city election can be received up until 10 days after the election, but must be postmarked on or before Election Day.
Other absentee ballot submission information: The ballot will come with instructions and a set of return envelopes. After making your choices on the ballot, you must enclose it in the inner (smaller) brown envelope and read and complete the information on the front of that envelope and sign it. Then you put the smaller envelope in the bigger envelope, place proper postage on it and mail it back to your city or town hall. You may return your completed absentee ballot by mail or you or a family member may hand-deliver it to the local election official. Your completed ballot cannot be delivered directly to your polling place on Election Day. If mailing your ballot, please make sure to include the proper postage.
Early voting qualifications: Early voting in-person balloting is available to those who are allowed to vote by absentee ballot. In Massachusetts you may vote absentee for one of the following three reasons only:
-You will be absent from your city or town on Election Day
-You have a physical disability preventing you from voting at the polling place
-Your religious beliefs prevent you from voting on Election Day
Verifying Registration: Voter Registration Status or Contact your Local Board of Elections
Deciding how to vote: http://www.votesmart.org/
Time off to vote: No owner, superintendent or overseer in any manufacturing, mechanical or mercantile establishment shall employ or permit to be employed therein any person entitled to vote at an election, during the period of two hours after the opening of the polls in the voting precinct, ward or town in which such person is entitled to vote, if he shall make application for leave of absence during such period.
Polling Place: Massachusetts polling place finder
Because of a new federal law, (the Help America Vote Act of 2002 passed by Congress) if you registered to vote by mail on or after January 1, 2003, you will be required to show identification when you vote for the first time in a federal election since registering by mail in 2003, or you can send in a copy of your identification with your voter registration form. Acceptable identification must include your name and the address at which you are registered to vote, for example:
- a current and valid driver’s license
- photo identification
- current utility bill
- bank statement
- government check
- other government document showing your name and address
If you send in a copy of your identification with your mail-in voter registration form, it may not be returned to you. If you do not provide such identification, the Help America Vote Act of 2002 requires that you may only cast a provisional ballot which will be counted later, but only after your eligibility to vote has been determined
How to Vote:Read Massachusett's How To Vote guide
Getting your vote counted: The electoral college system in Massachusetts.
Problems with voting: Massachusetts HAVA plan
Verifying provisional ballot status: Call the Secretary of the Commonwealth Elections Division at 800-462-8683 or 617-727-2828 or ask you local municipal election official. The information will be available seven days after a primary election and twenty days after a general election. Or contact your local election official.
Verifying absentee ballot status: Call the Secretary of the Commonwealth Elections Division at 800-462-8683 or 617-727-2828 or ask you local municipal election official. The information will be available seven days after a primary election and twenty days after a general election. Or contact your local election official.