A Primary Election FAQ from the Town of Bedford

Editor’s Note: The Town of Bedford prepared this FAQ to assist residents in advance of the upcoming Massachusetts Primary

What are my voting options for the September 1, 2020 primary election?

(1) Vote by mail ***This option is available to all registered voters***

Under state law in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all registered voters in Massachusetts may vote by mail for the September and November elections in 2020. No reason is necessary. If you want to cast your ballot by mail for the state primary, the Town Clerk must receive your application before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, August 26.

The state sent all registered voters, who had not already applied, a vote by mail application pre-addressed to their Town Clerk. If you did not receive this application, you can find the application here: https://www.bedfordma.gov/town-clerk/elections/pages/2020-vote-by-mail-application. Please download, print, and complete the early voting request application. You can scan your signed application and email it to clerk@bedfordma.gov.

You can also mail your completed application to Town Clerk’s Office 10 Mudge Way Bedford, MA 01730, or drop your application into the secure mail slot next to the front entrance to Town Hall.

I requested a mail-in ballot but would prefer to vote in person—can I still vote in person?

If you change your mind after requesting a mail-in ballot, you still may vote in person as long as the Clerk’s Office has not received your mail-in ballot.

I requested a ballot by mail but have not receive it yet—can I track my ballot?

Please use this link to track your mail-in ballot: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/wheredoivotema/track/trackmyballot.aspx

(2) Vote early in-person

The In-Person Early Voting Period begins on August 22, 2020 and ends on August 28, 2020.

Early voting will take place in the Reed Room in Town Hall (10 Mudge Way) during the following times:

          • Saturday, August 22 ~ 2 pm until 6 pm
          • Sunday, August 23~ 10 am until 2 pm
          • Monday, August 24~ 8 am until 7 pm
          • Tuesday, August 25~ 8 am until 4 pm
          • Wednesday, August 26 ~ 8 am until 4 pm
          • Thursday, August 27~ 8 am until 4 pm
          • Friday, August 28~ 8 am until 1 pm

Although Town Hall is currently open by appointment only, an appointment is not necessary for in-person early voting. Voters will enter Town Hall through the front door, and after voting, will exit the building via the rear of the Reed Room (voters requiring the use of the elevator will be able to exit via the front door of Town Hall). Capacity will be limited and social distancing guidelines will be in place to ensure a safe voting environment. All surfaces will be frequently sanitized and voters may bring their own black felt tip pen if they wish to do so. Visitors should wear masks or face coverings. Public restrooms will be available on the basement floor.

If you have recently tested positive for COVID-19, are experiencing any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or are not able to wear a mask or facial covering, you are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the vote by mail option.

(3) Vote on election day

On September 1, polls will be open for all precincts at the John Glenn Middle School gym (99 McMahon Road) from 7 am – 8 pm.

Capacity will be limited and social distancing guidelines will be in place to ensure a safe voting environment. All surfaces will be frequently sanitized and voters may bring their own black felt tip pen if they wish to do so. Visitors should wear masks or face coverings.

If you have recently tested positive for COVID-19, are experiencing any symptoms consistent with COVID-19, have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or are not able to wear a mask or facial covering, you are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the vote by mail option.

Can I preview the ballot?

Preview each political party’s ballot here: https://www.bedfordma.gov/town-clerk/news/specimen-ballots-for-september-1-2020-state-primary.

What are the requirements in order to register to vote?

You must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of Massachusetts, and eighteen years old on or before election day. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has no waiting period for voter registration. As soon as you move to your new address, you are eligible to register to vote.

What if I will be 18 after the deadline but before the election date?

You may register to vote in the election. Your form must be submitted by the registration deadline, even though you will not be eighteen until after the deadline.

Am I registered to vote?

You can check your registration status here: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/voterregistrationsearch/myvoterregstatus.aspx.

I live in Bedford already, but I moved to another address in town. Do I have to re-register?

A voter who moves within Bedford must notify the Town Clerk’s Office in a letter of their new address. This letter must have an original signature. The letter should contain both old and new addresses, voter’s name and date of birth. Most voters prefer to use a registration form to change their address.

Are there Voter Registration Deadlines?

The last day to register to vote and/or change address or party affiliation for the State Primary is Saturday, August 22, 2020. The Town Clerk’s Office will be open from 2 pm – 8 pm for voter registration, but you can also register on the state’s website: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ovr/ or print and mail the following form (https://www.bedfordma.gov/town-clerk/pages/voter-registration) to the Clerk’s Office (10 Mudge Way, Bedford, MA 01730).

Bedford residents can also register to vote in person at the Clerk’s Office but must make an appointment to do so.

I want to register as an independent but that is not one of the choices.

Massachusetts does not use the term independent. Check the box for “No Party (unenrolled)”.

Can an unenrolled voter participate in a Primary Election?

Yes. An unenrolled voter chooses a party ballot at the check-in table or on their Vote by Mail Application. Massachusetts currently has four (4) recognized political parties: Democratic, Republican, Green-Rainbow, and Libertarian. You will be given the ballot you request, but keep your No Party/Unenrolled Status.

What is a Political Designation?

Political designations are created when fifty (50) registered voters file a form with the Secretary of the Commonwealth requesting that they, or any other voters, may change their registration to such designation. Designations are often formed around a particular cause or ideology. Political Designation members can participate in primary elections by choosing which party’s ballot they would like to receive.

Additional Questions?

Please call the Town Clerk’s office ~ 781-275-0083.


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