Massachusetts Elections

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Your State

Upcoming Elections

2016 Presidential Preference Primary: Tuesday, March 1

2016 Congressional/State Primary: Thursday, September 8

  • Voter Registration Deadline: Friday, August 19

2016 General Election: Tuesday, November 8

  • Voter Registration Deadline: Wednesday, October 19

For more information, visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website.

Please note that the information in the sections below has not been updated, and refers to the 2015 general election.


More state specific election info below.

Voting Rights

News

Judge OKs voter registration rules in 3 states for now
06/30/16 |
Publication Date: 
Thursday, June 30, 2016 - 17:30
Excerpt: 

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon sided against a coalition of voting rights groups that sued a U.S. elections official who changed the proof-of-citizenship requirements on the federal registration form at the request of [Kansas, Georgia and Alabama] and without public notice. Residents of other states only need to swear that they are citizens, not show proof.

Leon refused to issue a temporary injunction sought by voting rights advocates to overturn the move by Brian Newby, the executive director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, until the case can be decided on its merits at trial. No trial date has been set. ...

Newby took the top job in November at a government agency entrusted with making voting more accessible, then months later used the federal position to implement the obstacle to voter registration in three states.

Wisconsin and Minnesota are case studies in the difference between Republican and Democratic rule
06/30/16 |
Publication Date: 
Wednesday, June 29, 2016 - 07:00
Excerpt: 

On April 5, the day of Wisconsin’s presidential primary, Anita Johnson picked up Dennis Hatten at his new apartment in West Milwaukee and took him to the polls. “We’re going to complete your journey and make sure you vote today,” Johnson told him.

Simply being able to vote in Wisconsin was no small feat for Hatten, a 53-year-old former Marine. He’d met Johnson, a 70-year-old Wisconsin coordinator for VoteRiders, in August 2015, as the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. Hatten was living in temporary housing for homeless veterans across the street from Milwaukee’s VA hospital. Wisconsin’s strict new voter-ID law would be going into effect in 2016, and Johnson was part of the effort to help 300,000 registered voters without an acceptable government-issued ID obtain one—9 percent of the electorate. ...

It took Johnson six months to get Hatten a state photo ID because, like many African Americans born in the Jim Crow South, he didn’t have a birth certificate, and the DMV rejected his initial application. He took his new ID to the polls, but the address on it didn’t match his new address, which the poll workers needed to register him at the site (Wisconsin is one of 14 states with Election Day registration). While Hatten conferred with the poll worker, another man who tried to register with his veterans’ ID was turned away.

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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

Massachusetts Election Info

Upcoming Elections in Your State

2016 Presidential Preference Primary: Tuesday, March 1

2016 Congressional/State Primary: Thursday, September 8

  • Voter Registration Deadline: Friday, August 19

2016 General Election: Tuesday, November 8

  • Voter Registration Deadline: Wednesday, October 19

For more information, visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website.

Please note that the information in the sections below has not been updated, and refers to the 2015 general election.

Polling Place Hours

Election Day: The polls must be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for State Elections. Some municipalities may open their polls as early as 5:45 a.m. Call your local City or Town Clerk to verify polling hours.

Early voting is not available in Massachusetts.

How to Find Your Polling Place

Use the Massachusetts Elections and Voting information page to find your polling place.

Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).

REGISTER TO VOTE HERE

Already registered? Verify your voter registration status.


Registration Deadlines

Voters must register at least 20 days before all primaries or elections, and 10 days before any special town meetings. 

How to Check if You Are Registered

To verify your registration status, use this tool on the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth page.

How to Register

You can register to vote by:

First Time Voters Who Register By Mail                                           

If you are registering to vote for the first time in Massachusetts, you need to attach identification to your voter registration form.  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 person in a federal election, 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, and may include:

  • A current and valid driver’s license;
  • Photo identification;
  • Current utility bill;
  • Bank statement;
  • Paycheck;
  • Government check; or
  • 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, you may only cast a provisional ballot which will be counted after your eligibility to vote has been determined.

Registration Eligibility

To register to vote in Massachusetts, you must be:

  • A US citizen;
  • A resident of Massachusetts; and
  • 18 years old on or before election day.

Identification Required for Registration

If you are registering to vote in person, you must 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.  There are no other identification requirements to register.

If You Want to Vote Early

Massachusetts does not have early voting.

If You Want to Vote Absentee

Massachusetts allows voters to vote by absentee ballot if they:

  • Will be absent from their city or town on election day;
  • Have a physical disability that prevents your voting at the polling place; or
  • Cannot vote at the polls due to religious beliefs.

You may have an absentee ballot mailed to you or you may vote at your city or town hall by making arrangements with your local election official.  To be counted, a completed ballot must be received by the time the polls close on Election Day.

Procedures for Voting by Absentee Ballot

To have a form mailed to you, you must apply in writing to your local City or Town Clerk or election commission.  Submit your application early to allow sufficient time for the ballot to be mailed to you and returned by the close of polls on Election Day.

Although the deadline to apply for absentee ballots is noon the day before the election, you should submit the application earlier if at all possible.

An application form is available at your local election office or you may download one of the applications here.

You may also apply by letter or note which must include your:

  • Name;
  • 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.

If you wish to vote absentee at your city or town hall, contact your local election official.  Plan to visit the office two or three weeks before the election. You can apply and cast your ballot in one visit.

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, read and complete the information on the front of that envelope, and sign it.  You must then insert the smaller envelope in the bigger envelope, place proper postage on it and mail it back to your city or town hall.

Alternatively, 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.

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.

Identification Requirements to Register to Vote

If you are registering to vote in person, you must 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.  There are no other identification requirements to register.

Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot

Massachusetts does not require identification for voting in person.  A first-time voter in a Federal election must show identification when voting for the first time in person, or send in a copy of identification with your voter registration form.

Acceptable identification must include name and the address at which the voter is registered to vote, and may include a current and valid driver’s license, photo identification, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document showing name and address.

If you have moved within the same city or town, notify your local election office of your new address in writing.  If you have moved to a new city or town, you must register again.

Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), also known as Standard Form 76, to register to vote and to request an absentee ballot.  Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's (FVAP) Massachusetts-specific FPCA page.

Military and overseas citizens can send and receive voting materials by fax and email.  If you wish to use the fax or email options, you must indicate this on your FPCA.  Instructions for doing so are found on the FVAP's Massachusetts-specific FPCA page.

Military and overseas citizens can use the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) if they are concerned with receiving their printed ballot and returning it by the 7:00 p.m., Election Day deadline.  The FWAB is a blank ballot on which voters write in their choices.  The FWAB may also be used to register to vote and to apply for the absentee ballot, all in one step.  If the FWAB is being used to register to vote, it must be received by the voter registration deadline.  For specific instructions, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program's Massachusetts-specific FWAB page.

In Massachusetts, you cannot vote if you are currently incarcerated.  Voters on parole or probation are eligible to vote.

For more information, visit the Massachusetts Secretary of State website, or click here to read Massachusetts Election Statutes.

FAQ

**Top Issues to Field**not yet updated since 2014**

For more information for voters with disabilities, visit the National Disability Rights Network’s voting resource center.

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

Information provided by Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

2016 Election Information for your state