News & Events

Absentee voting information

From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
April 2010 Edition

This past January, the people of Massachusetts voted for a U. S. senator, a seat that Sen. Edward M. Kennedy held for more than 47 years.

Massachusetts residents had not voted for an open seat in the U. S. Senate for over 25 years.

Did YOU vote in that election?

This fall, there will be elections all over the commonwealth for statewide offices. Furthermore, there will be special elections this spring in two state Senate districts and one House district.

Your vote matters in every election, even if you can not vote in person at your local polling place on Election Day.

How is that possible? Through the absentee voting process.

Are you eligible for absentee voting?

You may vote with an absentee ballot if:

  • You will be absent from your city or town on Election Day. For example, if you work in Boston but live in suburban Burlington and are scheduled to work a 12-hour shift from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day, you will likely be unable to vote in your town.
  • You have a physical disability preventing you from voting at your polling place.
  • Your religious beliefs prevent you from voting on Election Day.

Ways to apply for an absentee ballot

  • Go to your local election office in your city or town hall. You do not need an appointment, just show up during business hours and explain that you need to vote absentee. You can fill out the application and vote at the same time; there is no need to make two visits. Ballots are generally available approximately three weeks before an election. You can vote absentee up until noon on Monday, the day before the election.
  • Go online: Application forms are available on the Massachusetts secretary of state’s Web page at
  • Apply in writing to your city or town clerk or election commission and include your: Name; address as registered; ward and precinct (if you know them); address where you wish the absentee ballot be sent; In a primary, the party ballot, Democrat or Republican, you want; your signature

The deadline for applying for an absentee ballot is noon on the day before an election. If you are both applying and voting in person, you may apply for an absentee ballot and vote in the same visit.

If you will be sending your ballot through the mail, allow enough time for your application to get to your city or town clerk so that the ballot will arrive at your home in time for you to complete and return it by Election Day. The clerk’s office must receive ballots before the close of the polls on Election Day.

You must be a registered voter in order to vote absentee. A few exceptions exist, such as for members of the armed forces or merchant marine.

Voting is fundamental to our democratic society. Don’t miss out!