BDTC Voter Registration for 2016 Presidential Election | Nancy Ayotte, Vice Chair

BDTC Voter Registration for 2016 Presidential Election | Nancy Ayotte, Vice Chair

 

Registering to vote

Voting is our fundamental responsibility as citizens and is one of the major ways we keep involved in our political process.

Did you know that you have a Voter’s Bill of Rights? Massachusetts voters can access a page that documents those protected rights here.

What are the requirements to register for voting?

To register to vote as a Massachusetts resident, you have to be at least 18 years old before or on election day to vote, although you can pre-register as early as 16 years old.

You must be a U.S. citizen and cannot currently be incarcerated by reason of a felony conviction.

If you’re not a Massachusetts resident, check the voting requirements of your state here.

I want to register to vote online, where do I do that?

Great! Do that here.

I want to register to vote by mail.

Sure thing, download this form (this form is also in Spanish or in Chinese) and mail it in.

I want to register to vote in person, where do I do that?

At your county clerk’s office. Look up your local office here.

When is the deadline to register to vote?

For the Massachusetts State Primary Election (held September 8th, 2016), you must be registered to vote by August 19, 2016.

For the General Election (held November 8th, 2016), you must register to vote by October 19, 2016.

How can I tell if I'm already registered to vote?

Good question! You can find out here.

It will also tell you what your registration status is, where to vote, who your town clerk is, and who your elected officials are.

What do I need to know about Absentee Ballots?

In order to be eligible to vote with an absentee ballot, a voter must:

  • Be absence from the voter’s city or town on Election Day; or
  • Have a physical disability;
  • or Religious belief

MA State Primary Election Absentee Ballot REQUESTS must be made by 12PM on September 7th, 2016 and must be RETURNED (using mail, email, or online submission) by 8PM September 8th, 2016.

General Election Absentee Ballot REQUESTS must be made by 12PM on November 7th, 2016 and must be RETURNED (using mail, email, or online submission) by 8PM November 8th, 2016.

If you voted with an absentee ballot, you can track it here.

I just got out of prison, am I allowed to vote?

That's a really good question!

The answer varies widely by state and sometimes depends on the type of crime you were convicted of, whether or not you’re currently serving parol, and/or if you have legal financial obligations pending. Compounding the situation, many election officials misunderstand their own states’ disenfranchisement laws.

The State of Massachusetts restores your right to vote after you have commuted your sentence unless you were convicted of “corrupt practices in respect to elections,” in which case you would be permanently disenfranchised. If you are not a Massachusetts resident or want to read more about criminal disenfranchisement, you can start here.

Pete Souza [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Pete Souza [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

voting on Election Day

In all state elections and primaries, polling places must be open from 7AM until 8PM, though towns are allowed to open as early as 5:45am. Voters who are in line when polls are closed at 8PM must be allowed to vote.

Hours may vary for municipal elections, check with your local election official for polling hours.

Where do I go on election day?

Voting precincts are specified by your street address. To find out where your polling place is in Massachusetts, click here.

Enter your address and the search result will tell you what precinct you’re in, the precinct voting location, give you access to election ballot samples by party and lists who is currently in office.

This is a treasure trove of information as you can click on any elected officials listed and open a new site that will provide you with information about them and, oftentimes, legislation they’ve supported.

Do I need to present identification when I vote?

Voter ID laws can be tricky to navigate, especially now when it seems that states keep trying to pass new voting laws. MA residents do NOT have to present any form of identification to vote in an election unless:

You are voting for the first time in Massachusetts in a federal election;

  • You are listed as 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 show a photo ID, for a full list of acceptable forms of ID, click here.

Currently, there are nine states that have strict voter ID requirements.

Those states are: Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin. If you’re not a resident of Massachusetts, click here to see what your state’s voter ID laws are.

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