Voting in Massachusetts

This post contains information on voter registration, early and absentee voting, and the 2020 Presidential primary. If your question or concern isn’t answered, please contact the Town Clerk, Laurie Lucier, at 369-4235 x4 or by email at clerk@townofconway.com.

Voter Registration: 

To vote in Massachusetts, one must be a United States citizen, a resident of Massachusetts, and at least 18 years old on or before Election Day.[1]

The deadline for registration is 20 days prior to the election. A voter can register online, by mail, or in person at any registration office or the Registry of Motor Vehicles. A form of identification is required to register. The following are acceptable forms of identification:[1]

  1. Valid driver’s license
  2. State-issued identification card
  3. Current utility bill
  4. Bank statement
  5. Paystub
  6. Government-issued check
  7. Any other government document displaying the voter’s name and address

Online registration:

See also: Online voter registration

Massachusetts has implemented an online voter registration system. Residents can register to vote by visiting this website.

Voting in Elections:

Voter identification:

See also: Voter identification laws by state

Most voters in Massachusetts are not required to present identification at the polls. Only first-time voters who registered by mail are required to do so. Valid forms of identification include both photo and non-photo identification.[2]

As of April 1, 2019, 35 states enforced (or were scheduled to begin enforcing) voter identification requirements. A total of 17 states required voters to present photo identification; the remainder accepted other forms of identification. Valid forms of identification differ by state. Commonly accepted forms of ID include driver’s licenses, state-issued identification cards, and military identification cards.[3][4]

Poll times:

See also: State poll opening and closing times

In Massachusetts, most polling places are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. However, municipalities may open their polls as early as 5:45 a.m. An individual who is in line at the time polls close must be allowed to vote.[5][6]

Primary election type:

See also: Primary elections in Massachusetts

primary election is an election in which registered voters select a candidate that they believe should be a political party’s candidate for elected office to run in the general election. They are also used to choose convention delegates and party leaders. Primaries are state-level and local-level elections that take place prior to a general election. Massachusetts utilizes a hybrid primary system. Unaffiliated voters are allowed to vote in the primary election. They may choose which party ballot they wish to vote on and still remain unaffiliated.[7]

Note: Presidential primary and caucus types can differ. See this article for further details about 2016 presidential primaries and caucuses.

Absentee Voting:

See also: Absentee voting

In Massachusetts, a citizen is eligible to vote absentee in an election if he or she cannot make it to the polls on Election Day because he or she will be absent from the city, is disabled, or is prevented from voting at the polling place for religious reasons.[8]

To vote absentee, an application must be received by noon on the day before the election. The ballot must then be returned by the close of polls on Election Day.[8]

Early Voting:

See also: Early voting

Massachusetts permits no-excuse early voting. Learn more by visiting this website.

Early voting permits citizens to cast ballots in person at a polling place prior to an election. In states that permit no-excuse early voting, a voter does not have to provide an excuse for being unable to vote on Election Day. States that do not permit no-excuse early voting may still permit some citizens to vote early, provided that they have valid reasons for doing so; this practice is known as in-person absentee voting. As of January 30, 2018, 34 states and the District of Columbia permitted no-excuse early voting.[9][10][11]

Convicted Felons’ Voting Rights:

See also: Voting rights for convicted felons

Voting rights for convicted felons vary from state to state. In the majority of states, convicted felons cannot vote while they are incarcerated but may regain the right to vote upon release from prison or at some point thereafter.[12][13][14]

Massachusetts – – Voting rights are restored to a convicted felon immediately upon completion of prison sentence.


What you need to know about the 2020 Massachusetts presidential primary

The countdown is on.

Super Tuesday is now less than one year away. Massachusetts will hold its next presidential primary on March 3, 2020, and state officials are already gearing up for the expected influx of Democratic voters.

“There is every indication that we will see a high turnout next March,” Secretary of State Bill Galvin said in a statement Sunday, marking the 366-day countdown (2020 is a leap year).

“The field of candidates continues to grow and voters have already been calling my office with questions about the Presidential Primaries,” Galvin said. “Preparations have begun in my office and in local election offices around Massachusetts.”

Massachusetts will hold four presidential party primaries — Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, and Green-Rainbow — and Bay Staters may have several local candidates in the running when that day comes.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is already a declared Democratic presidential candidate and Rep. Seth Moulton says he’s seriously considering joining the crowded field as well. But it won’t just be on the Democratic side; in February, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld became the first Republican to officially launch a bid challenging incumbent President Donald Trump.

Galvin’s office says the presidential primary ballot will be finalized by the end of 2019. Residents will also have the chance to vote for state and local party committees during the election.

The voter registration deadline for the March 3 election is Feb. 12, 2020.

Even though Galvin’s office plans to have the state’s recently-approved automatic voter registration in place by next year, any voter who isn’t already registered will likely still need to do so themselves before the deadline — which also applies to changes in party affiliation. That’s because the state can begin automatically registering voters through RMV and MassHealth transactions beginning Jan. 1, 2020, which is a small window before the Feb. 12 deadline.

Debra O’Malley, a spokeswoman for Galvin’s office, says those planning to vote on March 3 should not wait to register.

“If you go into the RMV on January 10, 2020 and you do not opt out of registering to vote, you will be automatically registered,” O’Malley said. “But that would only apply to voters who have transactions with one of the covered agencies in that time period [between Jan. 1 and Feb. 12]. There is also a necessary follow-up period during which the voter is given more time to opt out or choose a party.”

Residents can check or change their registration status and party affiliation on the secretary of state’s website. Since Massachusetts has open primaries, independent voters can choose which one they want to vote in at their polling location.

Massachusetts is among 10 states scheduled to vote on March 3, but there is a chance Baystaters could begin voting before so-called “Super Tuesday.” Galvin’s proposal to expand early voting to the state’s presidential primaries is currently being considered by state lawmakers. The bill would implement a five-day early-voting period the week before the 2020 primary: Monday, Feb. 24, to Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.

Massachusetts will hold its state primaries in September 2020, during which voters will choose party nominees for U.S. Senate, U.S. Representative, state Senate, state Representative, and other local offices.