Massachusetts law about elections and voting

Laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on elections and voting law.

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Table of Contents

Best bet

Elections Division, Mass. Secretary of State.
Everything you need to know about the elections process, including:

  • How to register to vote
  • How to vote by absentee ballot
  • How to run for office
  • Ballot questions

Massachusetts laws

MGL c. 10, § 42 State election campaign fund

MGL c. 50 Elections, general provisions

MGL c. 51 Voters and registration

MGL c. 52 Political committees

MGL c. 53 Nominations, primaries, initiatives

MGL c. 54 Wards, voting districts and voting

MGL c. 55 Campaign finance and disclosure

MGL c. 56 Violations of election laws

MGL c. 149, § 178 Time off to vote

Massachusetts regulations

950 CMR 46-60 Elections & voting

970 CMR Campaign finance

Federal laws

U.S. Code, Title 52 Voting and elections

18 U.S. Code Chapter 29 Elections and political activities (Crimes relating to)

Federal regulations

CFR, Title 11 Federal elections

Selected cases

Political parties

Changing political partiesMass. Secretary of the Commonwealth, Elections Division.
"[Y]ou may change your enrollment status by notifying your election official in writing at least 10 days before an election."

Directory of political parties and designationsMass. Secretary of the Commonwealth, Elections Division.

Election Advisory #24-02: Electioneering and Signature Gathering within 150 Feet of Voting Locations, Mass. Secretary of the Commonwealth, Elections Division (2024).
Discusses prohibited actions at polling locations, including “Wearing certain political apparel (t-shirts, hats, buttons, pins, stickers, etc.).”

Web sources

Are cell phones/electronic devices allowed at polling locations?

Cities and towns may have rules about using electronic devices at polling locations. Please contact your local election office for information.

Election results archive (PD43+), Mass. Secretary of the Commonwealth, Elections Division.
A searchable database of Massachusetts historical and recent election results and statistics.

Federal Election Commission
Administers and enforces federal campaign finance laws. Includes a searchable database of who is giving what to whom and guidance in satisfying filing requirements.

How to run for officeMass. Secretary of the Commonwealth, Elections Division (3/2017).
"The information in this guide is general information regarding the process for running for office in state primaries and elections in Massachusetts"

Massachusetts, national popular vote compact, St. 2010, c. 229
An agreement among a group of U.S. states and the District of Columbia to guarantee the presidency to the candidate who wins the popular vote. The compact would go into effect when the participating states have a total of 270 electoral votes.

Mass. Office of Campaign and Political Finance
Includes forms and guidance for filing under the campaign finance law. Provides instructions for obtaining public documents from the office.

Registering to vote, Mass. Secretary of the Commonwealth, Elections Division.

If you are a U.S. citizen applying for or renewing a driver's license or state ID at the RMV, or applying for health insurance through MassHealth or the Commonwealth Health Connecter, you will be automatically registered to vote, unless you opt out of registering.

State ballot question petitions, Mass. Secretary of the Commonwealth, Elections Division, January 2023.
How to get a question on the ballot.

Time off to vote 
See Massachusetts law about time off to vote

Voting and elections law and history, 
Presidential election process, Voting and election history, Voter ID requirements, Voting and election laws.

Voting as an ex-offender, Nonprofit
Information on eligibility to vote and restoration of voting rights for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals.

Where do I vote?, Mass. Secretary of the Commonwealth, Elections Division.
Find your polling place in Massachusetts.

Print sources

America votes! : a guide to modern election law and voting rights, American Bar Association, 2020.

Election law in a nutshell, West Group, 2017.

The law of democracy: legal structure of the political process, West Academic, 2022.

Massachusetts election administration, campaign finance and lobbying law, MCLE, 2020.

Principles of the law, election administration, non-precinct voting and resolution of ballot-counting disputes / as adopted and promulgated by the American Law Institute at Washington, D.C., May 16, 2016; May 22, 2017. St. Paul, MN : American Law Institute Publishers, 2019.

Contact   for Massachusetts law about elections and voting

Last updated: March 15, 2024

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