Coming Down to the Wire ~ If You Need to Vote Absentee in Bedford’s March 12 Election

~ Submitted by Howard Rashba

Time has nearly run out, but there is an option: Visit the Town Clerk’s office in Town Hall (10 Mudge Way) and cast an absentee ballot.

Here’s how:

TO VOTE ABSENTEE IN BEDFORD’S MARCH 12 ELECTION

To vote absentee one must be registered to vote in Bedford, Massachusetts, and have one of the following qualifying conditions:

  • be away from Bedford on Election Day (3/12 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.)
  • have a disability that precludes being able to vote in person
  • a religious reason that precludes voting on Election Day

Remember this pragmatic rule: DO NOT PROCRASTINATE!

Voters meeting the above criteria could have applied for a mailed absentee ballot by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8.  But if you didn’t apply for a mailed ballot, all is not lost: Voters may apply for an in-person absentee ballot until noon on Friday, March 11, 2022.  Remember the Rule: Do NOT wait!

  • Visit www.bedfordma.gov/town-clerk  for information about the upcoming election
  • Click on the tab labeled Absentee Ballots to find information and the application to request an absentee ballot
  • Click on the tab labeled Elections to find more information about the upcoming election such as a specimen ballot

From this point, there is one path to Voting Successfully: Vote Absentee In-Person at the Town Clerk’s Office tomorrow, Thursday, or until noon on Friday.

IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED A MAIL-IN BALLOT

If you have already received a mail-in ballot, it can be dropped off during regular business hours or after hours in the dropbox to the right of the main door of Town Hall.

Ballots must be received in the Town Clerk’s Office or the DropBox (to the right of the front door to Town Hall) by 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 12, 2022.

FYI Our Town Clerk Bridget Rodrigue and Staff are extraordinarily nice, knowledgeable, and helpful)As always, the Town Clerk’s Office is happy to answer any questions you may have. They can be contacted at 781-275-0083.

THE HISTORY OF ABSENTEE VOTING

Absentee Voting emerged in the United States during the War of 1812 when Pennsylvania provided this option to state citizens in the military. The method became much more widespread during the Civil War when politically astute President Lincoln urged the Union States to allow soldiers to vote in the 1864 Presidential Election. The plan worked; Lincoln received 78% of soldiers’ votes.  Civilian Absentee Voting began in Vermont in 1938 and Military Absentee Voting had another self-limited boom during World War Two.

Since then, legislation has made Military Absentee Voting more prevalent and statewide “no excuse needed.” Civilian Mail-In Voting appeared in the Pacific Northwest states beginning in 1994. But it was the 2020 Covid Pandemic that triggered the huge increase in this method of voting.

Voting rules in the US are mostly up to each state. Massachusetts added “no excuses needed” Mail-in Voting in 2020 by enacting self-expiring legislation. The Legislature allowed this law to expire on December 15, 2021. For the upcoming Annual Town Election, the only other option to voting in person on Election Day is the Traditional Absentee Voting which is a more restrictive method.


Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: editor@thebedfordcitizen.org or 781-325-8606

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