By Joan Bowen
Bedford voters don’t have to wait to vote. Massachusetts is one of 37 states offering the option of early voting for the November 2016 election. Registered voters (the last day to register was October 19) may complete a ballot in person at the Town Clerk’s office in the Town Hall, October 24 – November 4. The decision to vote early is up to the voter with no excuse required.
It is also possible to request a ballot for early voting by mail. A form is available at www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepdf/Early-Ballot-Application-2016.pdf. The form requires the voter’s full name and legal voting residence, date of birth, and signature. The request for a ballot by mail does not require that the voter provide a reason for the request. Ballots will be mailed to applicants starting on October 24. Completed ballots are due to the Town Clerk no later than the close of the polls on Election Day. All early ballots will be counted on November 8 along with the ballots cast at the polls.
This is the first year in which Massachusetts has permitted early voting, and only for biennial state elections.The objective is to increase voter participation. Voters will be able to vote based on their own convenience and desire to avoid potential lines at the polls. Early voting may also have the benefit of less pressure on poll workers.
Until this year, the only option for securing an early ballot has been the absentee ballot. Qualification to be an absentee voter required that the individual would be absent from Bedford on Election Day or could not come to the polls on Election Day due to a disability or religious beliefs. Absentee voting will continue to be available for state primaries and local elections.
Bedford’s Early Voting Schedule, with Extended Hours on Tuesdays
- Monday, October 24, from 8 am to 4 pm
- Tuesday, October 25, from 8 am to 7 pm
- Wednesday, October 26, from 8 am to 4 pm
- Thursday, October 27, from 8 am to 4 pm
- Friday, October 28, from 8 am to 4 pm
- Monday, October 31, from 8 am to 4 pm
- Tuesday, November 1, from 8 am to 7 pm
- Wednesday, November 2, from 8 am to 4 pm
- Thursday, November 3, from 8 am to 4 pm
- Friday, November 4, from 8 am to 4 pm
The Town Clerk’s office is located on the first floor of Bedford Town Hall, 10 Mudge Way. To contact the Town Clerk, call 781-275-0083.