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Protecting your right to vote

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office will protect your right to cast a ballot and have that ballot counted. The AG’s Office is committed to providing accurate information about voter rights, strengthening trust in our democratic process, and ensuring a free and fair election.

Early in-person voting is underway. Early in-person voting will continue through October 30, 2020. Find locations and times for your city/town here

This page will continue to be updated so check back for new information.

Table of Contents

How to Vote

This year all voters have three options for casting their ballot: voting early by mail, voting in-person at an early voting location, and voting at their polling place on Election Day. Some voters may qualify for a fourth option - casting an absentee ballot. Learn more about all the methods you can use to vote in 2020. 

Vote Early by Mail

Request your ballot:

Apply now to vote early by mail and request a mail ballot online or fill out the vote by mail application that you may have received in the mail and send this form to your city's or town's election office by mail, e-mail, fax or in-person. You can find your local election office here.

A voter with a disability may request an accessible mail ballot. This request must be submitted to the Accessible Vote by Mail Coordinator in the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office at 1-800-462-VOTE/TTY: 1-800-720-3480 from 8:45 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

We recommended that you mail your vote by mail application by October 20th to ensure that you have enough time to receive your ballot and return it by mail. The deadline for applying to vote by mail is October 28th.

If your mail in ballot is mailed and postmarked by Election Day (November 3) and received by November 6 it will be counted. If you are concerned that your ballot will not be received by the deadline, then you can drop it at your local election office or a dropbox in your city/town up until 8pm on Election Day. 

If you are concerned that there is not enough time to request a mail in ballot and receive it, you can vote in-person early or on election day.

Return your ballot:

Your ballot will be mailed to you once your application has been received and accepted. After you have filled out your ballot,

  • Place your marked ballot into the yellow envelope and seal. 
  • Read and sign the affirmation on the yellow envelope and print your name and address below your signature. 
  • Place the yellow envelope into the white envelope and seal. 

You can mail it back to your local election office (envelope is pre-addressed and postage prepaid), or drop it off at your local election office, a ballot drop box in your city or town, or an early voting location during early voting hours. You can track your ballot here to make sure it is received and accepted.

Ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday, November 3, 2020 and received no later than Friday, November 6, 2020. Apply early to ensure your vote is received by the deadline. 

Vote In-Person

Election officials and poll workers are doing everything they can to provide a clean and safe voting experience. You can do your part by wearing a mask and social distancing when you go to vote. 

Early Voting: You can vote at any early voting site in your city or town. Early voting will take place between Saturday, October 17, 2020 and Friday, October 30, 2020. You find locations and hours for early voting here once they are finalized. 

Election Day: You can vote at your polling place on Election Day, November 3, 2020. The polls are open from 7am to 8pm. If you are line at 8pm you have the right to vote. You should confirm your polling location ahead of time, as some polling locations may change.

Vote Absentee

If you:

  • will be out of town on election day; 
  • have a disability that will keep you from voting at your polling place; or,
  • have a religious belief that will keep you from voting at your polling place

you can request an absentee ballot. Any person taking precaution relative to COVID-19 will qualify for an absentee ballot in 2020. 

To request, fill out this form and return it to your local election official. You may also write to your local election official to request an absentee ballot. You have until Wednesday, October 28, 2020 to request an absentee ballot in writing. Your ballot will be mailed to you. Fill out your ballot, and then

  • place your marked ballot into the yellow envelope and seal. 
  • Read and sign the affirmation on the yellow envelope and print your name and address below your signature. 
  • Place the yellow envelope into the white envelope and seal. 

You can return your ballot to your local election official by mail (envelope pre-addressed and postage prepaid), in-person, or through a ballot drop box in your city or town. Your ballot must be postmarked by Tuesday, November 3, 2020, and it must be received by Friday, November 6, 2020. 

Voter Protection

Voting is a fundamental civil right protected under the law. The Attorney General’s Office will enforce these laws to ensure that you have access to vote and that your vote is counted.

Your Vote Counts:

Here are some helpful tips to make sure your vote is counted:

  • If you vote early by mail, you can track your ballot to make sure that it is received and accepted.
  • If you vote early by mail and your ballot is rejected, your local election official will notify you and send another ballot.
  • If you requested and/or received an early mail ballot but did not submit it, you can vote in-person.
  • If you go to vote on Election Day and are told by a poll worker that you are ineligible to vote, you have a right to cast a provisional ballot.

Additional Resources

Preventing Voter Intimidation

You have the right to cast your ballot free from intimidation, harassment, or interference. State and federal laws protect this right. Everyone is prohibited from intimidating voters. 

If someone verbally or physically confronts you while you are trying to vote, requests documentation where none is required, follows you, or interferes in some other way with your right to vote, call the Attorney General’s Office Civil Rights Division at 617-963-2917. If you are in immediate danger, call 911. 

Fore more information, please read the advisory issued by the Attorney General's Office on Poll Monitoring and Voter Intimidation, available in English and Spanish

Additional Resources

Equal Access to Voting

All polling locations are required to be accessible. Polling locations are also required to have at least one accessible voting booth and a system that allows voters with disabilities to mark their ballot privately and independently. Persons with disabilities may have someone assist them at a polling location if they would like to vote early in-person or on Election Day. Persons with disabilities may also use the accessible electronic vote by mail system or vote absentee.

Election Protection

Ensuring a free and fair election is a top priority of the Attorney General's Office. The AG's Office is taking action to ensure the integrity of our election system and make sure that every vote is counted.

Protecting Mail-in Ballots

Massachusetts has implemented early voting by mail for the first time in 2020. You should feel secure in your ability to cast an early vote by mail.

U.S. Postal Service Lawsuit

A coalition of attorneys general filed a lawsuit to stop the federal administration’s recent operational changes to the U.S. Postal Service that prevent postal workers from effectively delivering the election-related mail. The lawsuit seeks to halt the illegal changes made by the federal administration and ensure access to safe, secure, and timely vote by mail across the country. Recently, as a result of our lawsuit, a federal judge ordered the Postal Service to halt changes that have delayed mail delivery nationwide.

If you choose to vote early by mail, follow these steps to make sure your vote counts: 

  • Apply to vote early by mail today. We recommend that you request your ballot by October 20th, 2020 to give yourself enough time to return it. Track your application to make sure it was received. If your ballot application status is "pending" it means your local election official has received your application and will send a ballot as soon as it is available. Applications must be received by October 28th, 2020. 
  • Track your ballot. If you chose to return your ballot by mail, you can track your ballot to make sure it is "accepted". If your ballot is “rejected” your local election official will notify you and automatically send another ballot. You can drop your ballot off at your local election office, a ballot drop box set up by your city or town, or any early voting location in your city or town during early voting hours. If your ballot has not been accepted by November 3rd, 2020, you can vote in person.
  • Know your rights. If you don't want to vote early by mail, you can still vote in-person during the early voting period or on Election Day. 

Additional Resources

Important Dates

Today -

October 28, 2020 - Last day that an early vote by mail application can be received by your local election official.

October 30, 2020 - Last day for early in-person voting.  

November 3, 2020 - Election Day (polls open from 7am to 8pm).

  • Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by this date.  

  • Last day to return mail-in ballot to drop box or election office in your city or town.

  • Absentee ballots must be postmarked by this date. 

November 6, 2020 - Mail-in ballots must be received by this date.  

  • Absentee ballots must be received by this date.  

Contact

Phone

Civil Rights (617) 963-2917
Disability Rights (617) 963-2939

Fax

(617) 727-5762
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