Registration Deadline: The deadline to register to vote in any election or regular town meeting is 10 days prior to the date of the election or meeting.
If you are a new citizen who was naturalized after the last day to register to vote, you may register to vote in person at your local election office until 4 p.m. on the day before the election. You should bring documentation to show that your naturalization ceremony occurred after the voter registration deadline.
Party Affiliation: When you register to vote, you may choose to enroll in a political party or political designation or may choose to remain “unenrolled,” which is commonly referred to as independent. If you do not enroll in a party, you may still vote in state and presidential primaries by choosing a party ballot and will remain unenrolled.
Once you make an enrollment choice you may change your enrollment status by notifying your election official in writing at least 20 days before an election.
If you enroll in any of these four parties (Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Green-Rainbow) you may vote only in that party’s primary. Enrollment in a political party does not affect your right to vote in the general election. In the general election, all voters receive the same ballot and vote for the candidate of their choice, regardless of party enrollment.
VOTER REGISTRATION QUALIFICATIONS
Age: May be 16 years old to register. Must be 18 years old on Election Day to vote.
Citizenship: Must be a United States citizen
Residency: Must be a resident of Massachusetts. You must update your voter registration every time you move. If you have moved, you may update your registration by filling out a new voter registration form. If you move after the deadline to register to vote in a state election or primary, you should wait to update your registration until after the date of the election or primary, and return to vote at your previous polling place in Massachusetts. State law allows you to vote from a previous address in a state election for up to six month after you have moved, as long as you have not registered elsewhere.
Felony Convictions: Must not be currently incarcerated by reason of a felony conviction.
OBTAINING A VOTER REGISTRATION FORM
Online: In order to register online, you must have a signature on file with the Registry of Motor Vehicles. If you currently have a Massachusetts driver's license or state ID card, you may use the online voter registration application to register, update your address, or change your party affiliation. Voter registration forms submitted online must be submitted by midnight on the date of the voter registration deadline.
In person: You may register in person at any local election office, as well as the Elections Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office. Voter registration is also available as part of every transaction at the Registry of Motor Vehicles and at certain public assistance agencies. Voter registration forms completed in-person are valid as of the day that they are signed.
By mail/In writing: To obtain a mail-in registration form click here. The form must be completed, signed, and delivered to your local election official. Voter registration forms submitted by mail must be postmarked no later than the voter registration deadline.
VERIFYING YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION STATUS
Verify here: voter registration status
VOTE BY MAIL
Massachusetts voters now have the option to vote early by mail in all elections, with no excuse required. To request your Vote by Mail ballot, submit a signed application to your local election office.
In addition to no-excuse early voting by mail, Massachusetts has absentee voting for those who qualify. While early Vote by Mail ballots are more common, there are special circumstances where you need to apply for an absentee ballot instead. See the “Absentee ballot” section below for more information on that.
Deadline: One week (7 days) before the election.
Obtaining a mail ballot: In 2022, Vote by Mail applications will be mailed in July and September to every voter who hasn’t already requested a mail-in ballot for the fall elections. These applications will be pre-addressed to your local election office and postage prepaid. Vote by Mail applications can also be downloaded or printed from our website. Any written request with your signature is an acceptable application. You can simply write a signed letter to your local election office to apply for your ballot.
Applications can be submitted by mail, email, or fax. If you’re emailing your application, you need to sign it in a way that can be compared to your hand-written signature. Electronic signatures, scanned applications, and photos of applications are acceptable. Typed signatures cannot be accepted.
Submitting your mail ballot: There are several options for returning your ballot. You may return your ballot by:
-Mailing it back using the envelope provided; or
-Hand-delivering your ballot to your local election office; or
-Dropping your ballot off at an early voting location during early voting hours; or
-Using a ballot drop box provided by your city or town.
Ballots cannot be dropped off at a polling place on Election Day. For the November 8, 2022 State Election, ballots returned in person or by drop box must be delivered by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots returned by mail from inside the United States must reach your local election office by 5 p.m. on November 11, 2022 in order to be counted. Mailed ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day can only be counted if they are postmarked by Election Day.
For all other elections, ballots must reach your local election office by the close of polls on Election Day in order to be counted.
Use our Track My Ballot tool to check the status of your ballot. The tracker will show you the date your ballot was mailed, the date it was returned, and whether your ballot was accepted or rejected.
If you still want to vote in person: You can still vote in person if you’ve applied to vote by mail. You can vote at an early voting location or your polling place on Election Day. You can’t vote in person if your ballot has been accepted by your local election office. You can’t take your ballot back or vote again.
Use our website to track your ballot status. If your ballot hasn’t been accepted by Election Day, you may vote in person at your polling place. If your ballot arrives at your local election office after you’ve voted, the mail-in ballot will be rejected.
ABSENTEE BALLOT QUALIFICATIONS
Who can vote absentee: In order to be eligible to vote by absentee ballot in Massachusetts, a voter must be prevented from voting at their polling place on Election Day, due to
- Absence from the voter's city or town on Election Day, or
- Physical disability, or
- Religious belief
SUBMITTING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT
If you are voting by mail, you should be sure to submit your application in a timely manner. Please allow enough time for the ballot to be mailed to you and for you to return the ballot by Election Day. All ballots being mailed from inside the United States must be received by your local election official no later than the close of polls on Election Day.
For the 2020 November State Election only, ballots will need to be postmarked by Election Day and reach your local election office no later than November 6 in order to be counted.
For 2020 mail-in ballots, postage on ballots is prepaid.
If you would like to vote in person, you may do so in the office of your local election official. In-person absentee voting should be arranged ahead of time.
VOTING ON ELECTION DAY
In all state elections and primaries, polling places must be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m., though towns are allowed to open as early as 5:45 a.m. Voters who are in line when polls are closed at 8 p.m. must be allowed to vote. For municipal elections, polling hours will vary by city and town. Check with your local election official for polling hours for your municipal election.
You may be asked to show identification when you check-in at your polling place for any of the following reasons:
-You are voting for the first time in Massachusetts in a federal election
-You are an inactive voter
-You are casting a provisional or challenged ballot
-The poll worker has a reasonable suspicion that leads them to request identification
Acceptable identification must include your name and the address at which you are registered to vote. Examples of acceptable identification include: a driver's license, state-issued ID card, recent utility bill, rent receipt, lease, a copy of a voter registration affidavit, or any other printed identification which contains the voter's name and address.
On Election Day, some voters may find that their names have been placed on the list of inactive voters. The inactive voters list is made up of registered voters who have not responded to the annual street list or subsequent confirmation notice. Inactive voters may still vote, but will first be asked to show identification and will be required to fill out an affirmation of current and continuous residence.
For more information click here
Voters who find that they are not on the list where they believe they are registered to vote, or find that they are listed incorrectly, have the right to cast a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots are sealed in an envelope and kept separately from other ballots until the voter's eligibility can be determined. If a provisional voter is determined to be registered, their ballot is unsealed and counted; if the voter is determined to be ineligible to vote, the ballot is destroyed without being examined.
State law requires that local election officials resolve all provisional ballots within three days of a state or presidential primary and within twelve days of a state or local election. All provisional ballots are investigated and those found to be cast by eligible voters are counted, no matter how close the election may be.
After Election Day, you may contact the Elections Division at 1-800-462-VOTE (8683) to determine the disposition of your ballot.
For more information click here
Deciding how to vote: https://votesmart.org/
Polling Place: Click here
Tracking your mail-in ballot: Click here
Problems with voting: If you feel that your right to vote has been violated in any way, call the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Elections Division at 1-800-462-VOTE (8683), Fax: 617-742-3238