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Texas early voters see problems with photo ID, intimidation; Election Protection organizations call on Secretary of State to rectify problems with misinformation
10/26/16 |
Publication Date: 
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - 18:30

Initial information suggests that much confusion remains about the recent changes in the Texas voter ID law. Reports indicate that polling locations in Bexar, Dallas, Denton, El Paso, Hays, McLennan, and Travis Counties, at a minimum, are posting misleading or inaccurate information regarding the need for photo ID to vote. In one instance, a voter reported being turned away from the polls for lack of photo ID.  ...

Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law:

“Across Texas we are seeing local election officials undermine the weight of the 5th Circuit’s ruling striking down the state’s photo id law as discriminatory.  Instead of changing the rules, some counties across Texas continue to impose the strict photo id law and are posting signs that suggest to voters that the photo id law remains in effect.  This is simply unacceptable.  The court has spoken and local officials must immediately stop imposing a law that was found discriminatory.  We encourage voters to continue reporting violations to the Election Protection program via our 866-OUR-VOTE hotline.”

During early voting, the Election Protection coalition is encouraging voters to call the toll-free English language hotline, 866-OUR-VOTE. Additionally, Spanish-speaking voters may seek bilingual assistance through the 888-VE-Y-VOTA hotline and Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Urdu, Hindi, and Bengali speakers can use the 888-API-VOTE number.

A City Clerk Opposed an Early-Voting Site at UW–Green Bay Because ‘Students Lean More Toward the Democrats’
10/25/16 |
Publication Date: 
Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - 09:30

Green Bay’s refusal to put a polling place at the campus is indicative of the Wisconsin GOP’s broader attack on student voting. Under Wisconsin’s strict voter-ID law, student IDs from most public and private universities and colleges are not accepted because they don’t feature signatures or a two-year expiration date, compared to a ten-year expiration for driver’s licenses. Only three of twenty-six schools in the University of Wisconsin system offer compliant IDs, according to Common Cause Wisconsin.

That means many schools, including the University of Wisconsin–Madison, must issue separate IDs for students to use only for voting, an expensive and time-consuming process for students and administrators. To get the new IDs, students also have to bring proof of enrollment from their schools, an extra burden of proof that applies only to younger voters. They must additionally provide proof of residency when they register, which can be difficult for students who live in group apartments and do not have a utility bill or lease in their name. 

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Massachusetts Election Info

Upcoming Elections in Your State

2016 General Election: Tuesday, November 8

Voter Registration Deadline: Wednesday, October 19

For more information, visit the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s website.

Early Voting:

Voters can vote early beginning on Monday, October 24th through Friday, November 4th. Every city and town in Massachusetts will have a designated early voting site whose location will be published by the town or city registrar one week before early voting begins. Voters can vote early at the designated location from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Specific city or town information is available at

Election Day:

Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.

How to Find Your Polling Place: Visit the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s polling place locator web page. 


Already registered? Verify your voter registration status.

Registration Deadlines: The deadline to register to vote for this year’s General Election is Wednesday, October 19th.

How to Check Your Registration: Use Massachusetts Registrant Search website or call 1-866-462-VOTE.

Registration Eligibility: In order to be eligible to register in Massachusetts, you must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States;
  • Reside in Massachusetts; and
  • Not be currently incarcerated for a felony conviction;

Voters must be eighteen years of age or older to vote. However, beginning August 1, 2017, sixteen and seventeen-year-olds can preregister in person, by mail, or online using the same form as other registrants. Preregistered people will become automatically eligible to vote at age eighteen.

There is no duration of residence requirement in Massachusetts; you may register the first day that you move to the state.

How to Register: Massachusetts residents may register in person, by mail, or online.


In order to register to vote online, you must have a signature on file with the Registry of Motor Vehicles. If you have a Massachusetts driver’s license or state ID card, your signature is on file. Applicants can apply to register on the Secretary of State’s website.

By Mail

In order to register by mail, you must obtain a mail-in registration form by:

  • Downloading a mail-in form from the Secretary of State’s website
  • Requesting a form by contacting the Elections and Voting Division in the Secretary of State’s office (1-800-462-8683).

In Person

You may register to vote in person in any of the following ways:

  • When applying for or renewing your driver’s license or State Identification Card;
  • At your local town clerk’s office
  • At the Elections Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office

Identification Required for Registration

Voters may register by mail without identification, but they must provide a form of identification when they vote at the polls on Election Day.

If You Want to Vote Early

The early voting period will begin on Monday, October 24th and end on Friday, November 4th. At minimum, every city and town in Massachusetts will have at least one designated early voting site open during business hours. Cities and towns may, in their discretion, allow for expanded hours and locations. Each city and town will publish the location(s) and hour(s) at least one week before early voting begins. Specific city or town information is available at

If You Want to Vote Absentee

A voter may cast an absentee ballot if he or she:

  • Will be absent from their city or town on Election Day;
  • Has a physical disability that prevents a trip to the polling place;
  • Has a religious belief that prevents a trip to the polling place;
  • Is a registered Massachusetts voter living outside the county;

Rules and Deadlines:

  • An absentee ballot application must be turned in no later than November 7, 2016.

An absentee ballot must be received by the voter’s local election official no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot You may be asked to provide identification if you are a first time voter, on the inactive list, or challenged by a poll worker. You do not need a photo ID. 

Valid forms of ID must include your name and the address at which you are registered to vote.  Valid forms of ID include:

  • Valid Massachusetts driver's license or non-driver ID card;
  • Valid state-issued ID;
  • Valid U.S. passport;
  • Valid U.S. military ID card containing a photo
  • Recent utility bill or rent receipt
  • Copy of voter registration affidavit
  • Any other printed identification which contains the voter’s name and address where they are registered to vote

VoteRiders has created Massachusetts voter ID info cards in English and in Spanish.

Voters should notify their local election office of any change of address.  This may be done in person at the local election office or by mail.  If the voter has not updated his/her address, he/she will be able to cast a provisional ballot at the polling place associated with their old address for up to six months.

Military and other overseas citizens may use the standard procedure for absentee voting by mail, but there are also special provisions for members of the U.S. Armed Forces and merchant marine, commissioned corps of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with family members of all these groups, and other citizens who reside outside the United States (together these groups are called UOCAVA voters).

Registering and Requesting an Absentee Ballot

UOCAVA voters can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA) to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot.  Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's webpage.

The spouse, roommate, parent, in-laws, brother, sister, son, daughter, stepparent, stepchild, half-sister, half-brother, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, grandparent or grandchild may request that a ballot be sent to an overseas or military voter using this form.

Receiving an Absentee Ballot

UOCAVA voters may receive their blank absentee ballots by U.S. Mail or electronic transmission.  To request election transmission of the blank ballot, UOCAVA voters must mark the appropriate box and provide an email address on the State of Massachusetts “UOCAVA Application for Absentee Ballot” or on the FPCA webpage. Ballots must be returned via U.S. Mail, commercial carrier, or by hand delivery.

Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot

The Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) is a back-up ballot that can be used by UOCAVA voters.  You can use this FWAB whether you are located inside or outside the United States (including APO and FPO addresses), provided that you are away from your voting residence for service-related activities.  You must apply for a regular ballot early enough for your local election officials to receive the request at least 5 days before the election.  If you do not receive your regular ballot in time, you may use the FWAB.  Your FWAB must be received by your local voting officials in Massachusetts no later than noon on Election Day.  For specific instructions, visit the FVAP's Massachusetts-specific FWAB page

A person who has been convicted of a felony may vote unless they are currently incarcerated. 


Top Issues to Field

For more information for voters with disabilities, find a National Disability Rights Network partner in your area.

For more information for student voters, visit the Student Voting Guide from the Brennan Center for Justice.

Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

Voting as a Student

As a student, you have a constitutional right to register and vote in the place you truly consider to be “home” — whether that’s your parents’ house, your apartment, or your dorm room. But before you make the important decision about where to vote, make sure you know the voting rules (and sometimes consequences) of registering to vote in that state.

More Info On Student Voting

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2016 Election Information for your state