In response to Covid-19, the Massachusetts Legislature passed legislation earlier this month to provide options for voting that will assure that the September 1 State Primary and the November 3 General Election can be held in a manner that will provide for the safety of voters and poll workers, ease the workload of local election officials, and create confidence in the conduct of these elections.
Voting Options in the State Primary, September 1
Vote By Mail
Applications for voting by mail in the State Primary on September 1 were mailed this past week to voters registered by July 1. If a voter registers or changes their address between July 1 and August 22, Town election officials must send an acknowledgment notice and application to vote by mail.
Voters must return their application in the postage-paid return envelope to the Town Clerk no later than August 26, four business days before the State Primary on September 1. Given that this is a very tight deadline to receive and return the ballot, you are encouraged to return it as soon as possible.
Voters may also return their mail-in ballots directly to the Town Clerk’s office. A dropbox may be provided but is not required by the State. Ballots must be returned before September 1.
Mail-in ballots for the State Primary may be processed in the Town Clerk’s office before Election Day. However, no results will be tabulated prior to the close of the polls nor do the mail-in ballots have to be delivered to the polls.
If you have not received the application to vote by mail, it is likely that if you are a new voter or have a change of address, you are not currently registered.
To check the status of your registration visit https://www.sec.state.ma.us/VoterRegistrationSearch/MyVoterRegStatus.aspx.
Register to Vote Online
To register online, go to www.sec.state.ma.us/OVR/.
It is also possible to access the request to vote by mail in the primary at www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepdf/2020-Vote-by-Mail-Application.pdf.
Early Voting ~ August 22 to 28
In-person early voting will be available August 22-28 before the Primary. The Bedford Citizen will publish the hours and locations when the information is released by the Town Clerk.
State regulations specify that some weekend hours must be included.
Vote at the Polls on September 1
The primary with in-person voting will be held on Tuesday, September 1. The State is allowing some changes in past requirements to support securing poll workers (party affiliation, voter status, and residency).
In addition, the voter checkout table can be eliminated to reduce the number of poll workers needed.
Key Dates for the Massachusetts Primary on September 1
- Deadline to register to vote in the Primary ~ August 22
- Deadline to apply for a mailed ballot ~ August 26
- Early Voting in the Primary ~ August 22 -28
- Postmark deadline to return mail-in ballot ~ September 1
A second article on voting in the General Election on November 3 will follow.