Massachusetts Voting Quick Facts
Who Can Register to vote in Massachusetts
To register to vote in the State of Massachusetts, an individual must meet the following qualifications
- You are a citizen of the United States;
- You are a resident of Massachusetts, and
- You are 18 years old on or before election day (must still meet registration deadlines)
- You are not currently incarcerated by reason of a felony conviction.
How Do I Register To Vote in Massachusetts
If you would like to register in-person, you may do so at any local election office, as well as the Elections Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office
Click here to get the address and phone number for the board of registrars office in your county
If you do not qualify to register to vote online, or if you would prefer to register by mail, you may download the voter registration form by using the link provided in the box to the right
Click here to download the Mail-In Voter Registration Form
In order to register to vote online, you must have a signature on file with the Registry of Motor Vehicles
Click here to Register Online
Voting At The Polls On Election Day
WHAT IS AN ACCEPTABLE FORM OF IDENTIFICATION FOR VOTING
You may be asked to show identification at the check-in table 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.
You will not be required to present photo identification. For a full listing of acceptable forms of identification, please see our page on Identification.
Who Can Vote in Primary Elections in Massachusetts
Both Democrats and Republicans hold Semi-closed Primaries
Voters enrolled in a political party (Democratic, Green-Rainbow or Republican) may only vote in that
party's pramary.Unenrolled voters (registered voters not enrolled in a political party commonly refered
to as "independent") may vote in the primary of their choice and remain unenrolled after voting.
All races' primaries open for unenrolled or unaffiliated voters.
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.
If you enroll in any of these four parties 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.
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.
Click here for additional information
Who Can Vote Absentee in Massachusetts
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.
Early voting will be available for biennial November state elections only, beginning with the November 8, 2016 State
Applying for Absentee Ballots
- Absentee ballots must be requested in writing by either the voter or the voter's family member.
For convenience, absentee ballot applications may be downloaded from this page; however, any written communication evidencing
a desire for an absentee ballot is acceptable. If you would like to request an absentee ballot, you may submit an application
or a signed letter to your local election official. If you are requesting an absentee ballot for a family member, be sure to
submit the request to the voter's local election official.
- When completing the application, you may indicate whether you are requesting a ballot for a specific election,
or if you will be needing a ballot for all elections this year. Please note that absentee ballot applications expire at the end
of each calendar year. If you are a voter with a permanent physical disability, you may file a note from your doctor to that effect
with your local election official. Voters with permanent physical disabilities are sent completed applications at the beginning of
each year, to be signed and returned to their local election official.
- All requests for absentee ballots must be received by your local election official no later than 12 p.m. on the
day before the election for which the ballot is being requested. Applications may be submitted in person, by mail, fax, or by e-mail;
however, the local election official must be able to view the signature of the person requesting the ballot. If the application is being
submitted by e-mail, a scanned copy of the request must be submitted.
- 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.
- 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.
When Absentee Ballots are Counted
- Except for ballots which are rejected as defective, all absentee ballots are cast and counted by the poll
workers on Election Day. Absentee ballots are included in the final tallies, and are counted whether or not an election contains
a close race.
What If My Address Has Changed
Voting from a Previous Address
- State law allows voters who have moved within Massachusetts to vote in state elections
and primaries from a previous address for up to six months, as long as they have
not registered at a new address. If you have moved from one community in Massachusetts
to another, and you have not registered to vote at your new address, you may vote at your
previous polling place. Please note that this does not apply to local elections.
- At School. Students can establish residency in Massachusetts if they have a present intention
to remain at their Massachusetts school address for the time being, and they intend to make it their principal home.
Any other interpretation of the residency laws is unconstitutional. Massachusetts courts have
long interpreted the law to allow students to establish residence in their college towns.
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