For more information, visit the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s website.
Requests must be received by 5:00pm.
Must be postmarked by November 3, 2020. Those ballots mailed from within the United States must be received by 5 pm ET on November 6, 2020. Those mailed from outside the United States must be received by 5 pm ET on November 13, 2020. Overseas and military voters voting absentee may also return their ballots via fax or e-mail, but the ballots must be received by 8 pm ET on November 3, 2020. If you’re hand-delivering your ballot to your local election office or dropping it in a drop-box, it needs to be returned by 8 p.m. EST on November 3rd.
For more information, visit the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s website.
Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Election Day, although towns are allowed to open as early as 5:45 a.m. You can find your polling place here. Check with your local election official for polling hours. Your local election official can be found here.
In-Person Early Voting:.
For the 2020 General Election, voters can vote early beginning on Saturday, October 17, 2020 through Friday, October 30, 2020.
For both the Primary and General Elections, every city and town in Massachusetts will have a designated early voting site whose location and hours will be published by the town or city registrar at least one week before early voting begins. Specific city or town information is available at here.
For more information on in-person early voting, please see: “Voting Early, by Mail & Absentee.”
Voting by Mail and Absentee Voting:
Voting by mail allows registered voters to vote by mail on or before Election Day. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts is allowing all registered voters to vote by mail in 2020 elections and is mailing Vote by Mail applications to all registered voters. Absentee voting is available in all elections, but only certain voters are eligible.
Applications: Vote by Mail and absentee ballot applications must be received by Wednesday, October 28, 2020. After a Vote by Mail application is received, a Vote by Mail ballot will be mailed to the voter. Voters are encouraged to return their applications as early as possible. Ballots are expected to begin to be mailed to voters no later than the first week of October.
Ballots: Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by November 3, 2020 and must be received by 5 pm ET on November 6, 2020 (if mailed from within the United States) or 5 pm ET on November 13 (if mailed from outside the United States). If you’re hand-delivering your ballot to your local election office or dropping it in a drop-box, it needs to be returned by 8 p.m. EST on November 3rd.
Certain voters, including those who are away from their city or town on Election Day or are prevented from going to the polling place due to disability or religious beliefs, may vote absentee. Except for emergency ballots, dates and deadlines for absentee ballots are the same as those for vote by mail ballots. Overseas and military voters voting absentee may also return their ballots via fax or e-mail, but the ballots must be received by 8 pm ET on November 3, 2020.
For more information on Voting by Mail or absentee voting, please see “Voting Early, By Mail & Absentee” and “If You Are in the Military or Are an Overseas Voter.”
Where You Can Vote
How to Find Your Polling Place: Due to COVID-19, some polling place locations may have changed. Please visit the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s polling place locator webpage to find your polling place.
Registration Deadlines: The deadline to register to vote for this year’s General Election is Saturday, October 24, 2020. Vote by Mail and absentee ballot applications must be returned no later than Wednesday, October 28, 2020, for the 2020 General Election.
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, as of August 1, 2017, sixteen-year-olds 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.
As of January 1, 2020, if you are a Massachusetts citizen conducting certain transactions through the Registry of Motor Vehicles, MassHealth, or the Commonwealth Health Connector and you do not opt out of registering to vote, you will automatically become registered to vote.
If you do not opt out of registering, you will automatically be registered to vote when you:
- Apply for or renew a driver’s license.
- Apply for or renew a learner’s permit.
- Apply for or renew a state ID.
- Apply for MassHealth benefits online, in-person, or by phone.
- Apply for health insurance through the Commonwealth Health Connector.
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.
In order to register to vote by mail, you must obtain a mail-in registration form by:
- Downloading a mail-in form from the Secretary of State’s website; or
- Requesting a form by contacting the Elections and Voting Division in the Secretary of State’s office (1-800-462-8683).
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.
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; or
- At the Elections Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office.
Voter registration forms completed in-person are valid as of the day that they are signed.
Identification Required for Registration
Voters must either submit a copy of their identification with their voter registration or they may be asked to present it at their polling place on Election Day. For information on valid forms of identification, see “Identification Requirements.”
Have questions or need more information? Call 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)!
Voting Early, by Mail & by Absentee Ballot
If You Want to Vote Early In-Person
The early voting period for the 2020 General Election will begin on Monday, October 17, 2020 and end on Friday, October 30, 2020. At minimum, every city and town in Massachusetts will have at least one designated early voting site open. Cities and towns may, in their discretion, allow for additional locations. Each city and town will publish the location(s) and hour(s) at least one week before early voting begins.[i] Specific city or town information is available here.
If You Want to Vote by Mail: All registered voters in Massachusetts may vote by mail in any election in 2020 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, per a new law passed in July 2020.
Applications: In July, a Vote by Mail application to request a mail-in ballot for both the 2020 State Primary and the 2020 General Election was mailed to every person who was registered to vote by July 1, 2020 and who had not already requested an absentee ballot. There will be a second mailing of Vote by Mail applications by September 14, 2020 to all registered voters who have not already applied for a mail-in ballot for the 2020 General Election. These applications are pre-addressed, and no postage is necessary. Vote by Mail applications may also be downloaded here.
Ballots are expected to begin to be mailed to voters no later than the first week of October.
Vote by Mail applications may be submitted by mail, by email, by fax (if available), or in-person to a voter’s local election office. Information for local election offices can be found here. If you are emailing your application, you must either take a picture of your signed application or sign the application using a mouse, finger, or stylus. Signatures may not by typed.
Vote by Mail applications must be received by a voter’s local election office no later than four business days before the election. After a Vote by Mail application is received, a Vote by Mail ballot will be mailed to the voter. Voters are encouraged to return their applications as early as possible.
- For the 2020 General Election, Vote by Mail applications must be received by the local election office no later than Wednesday, October 28, 2020.
- Ballots: Mail-in ballots can be returned by mail or in-person to the voter’s local election office or to an official ballot return drop-box. Ballots may not be returned to the poll site on election day. Ballots are preaddressed, and no postage is necessary. Local election office information can be found here. Voters should contact their local election office for the location of its ballot return drop-box. Voters are encouraged to return their ballots well before the below deadline.
- For the 2020 General Election, mail-in ballots returned by mail must be postmarked by November 3, 2020. Those mailed from within the United States must be received by 5 pm ET on November 6, 2020. Those mailed from outside the United States must be received by 5 pm ET on November 13, 2020. Overseas and military voters voting absentee may also return their ballots via fax or e-mail, but the ballots must be received by 8 pm ET on November 3, 2020.
If you request a mail-in ballot and decide to vote in-person, you may do so before you return your ballot. After you return your mail-in ballot, you may vote in-person only if your ballot has not been received and validated or has been deemed invalid. You can track your Vote by Mail ballot here.
If You Want to Vote Absentee: Except for emergency ballots, dates and deadlines for absentee ballots and applications are set out above in “If You Want to Vote by Mail.” A voter may cast an absentee ballot if they:
- Will be absent from their city or town on Election Day (see “If You Are in the Military or Are an Overseas Voter”); Have a disability that keeps them from voting at their polling place; or
- Have a religious belief that prevents them from voting at their polling place on Election Day; or
- Are incarcerated, but eligible to vote (see “If You Have a Felony Conviction”).
Emergency Absentee Ballots: Voters who have been admitted to a healthcare facility or have been instructed to quarantine in their home within one week of the election may use the absentee ballot application to designate someone of their choice to deliver a ballot to them. The person designated to deliver the ballot must bring the signed application to the voter’s local election office, pick up the absentee ballot, bring it to the voter, and return it by the close of polls on Election Day. Such emergency ballots may be requested up until the close of polls on Election Day.
[i] Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 54, § 25B (business days not hours)
Identification Requirements to Cast a Ballot
You may be asked to provide identification if you are a first-time voter in a federal election in Massachusetts, an inactive voter, or casting a provisional or challenged ballot, or if a poll worker has a reasonable suspicion that leads them to request identification. 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, rent receipt, or lease
- Copy of voter registration affidavit
- Any other printed identific
Voters must update their voter registration every time they move. Voters should update their address by submitting a new voter registration form. If a voter moves after the deadline to register to vote in a state election or primary, then the voter should update their registration after the election or primary and vote at their previous polling place in Massachusetts. State law allows you to vote from a previous Massachusetts address in a state election for up to six months after you have moved, as long as you have not registered elsewhere. Individuals who have moved to Massachusetts from another state after the registration deadline are ineligible to vote.
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). For more information on Voting Absentee, see “Voting Early, By Mail & Absentee.”
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.