“If you have not registered to vote yet, you should be able to register to vote there and fill out a provisional ballot.”
Massachusetts early voting begins Oct. 22, and voting-rights advocates say it is important to have a plan for when, where and how you will cast your ballot.
The VOTES Act, signed earlier this year by Gov. Charlie Baker, made several permanent changes to election laws in the Commonwealth, including expanding use of mail-in ballots and early voting options. The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 29, and you can do it online at RegisterToVoteMA.com, where you can also check the status of your voter registration.
Julia Kupferman, communications and civic engagement coordinator for Massachusetts Voter Table, said you can register and vote early on the same day.
“If you go to your town hall on an early voting day in that week,” Kupferman said. “And if you have not registered to vote yet, you should be able to register to vote there and fill out a provisional ballot, so that you are in the system and your vote is counted.”
Requests for mail-in ballots must be received by Nov. 1, but Kupferman suggested getting it done sooner at MailMyBallotMA.com. Mail-in ballots should begin arriving in mailboxes this week.
If you prefer to vote in person on Election Day, you can bring any information you may need into the voting booth; notes on candidates, or a voter guide on this year’s ballot questions.
Kupferman said you can also bring someone to help you vote should you need assistance, and be provided with election materials in a language other than English.
“For example, if you live in Boston and you speak Spanish primarily, you should be able to completely vote in Spanish, and get assistance from a poll worker or an interpreter in Spanish,” Kupferman said.
If you make a mistake when voting, you can request up to two replacement ballots. All polling places must also be accessible to voters with disabilities, including an accessible voting booth.
Young voters are expressing great interest in the midterm election – but students, anyone new to the state or who has moved since the last election need to re-register to vote using their new address. If it sounds like a hassle, Kupferman reminded people how Boston City Council at-large candidate Julia Mejia won her seat in 2019 by just one vote.
“Even if the margin is slightly bigger,” Kupferman said. “It definitely makes a difference when we go vote, and when we turn out our friends and family to come with us.”
She added there is still time to volunteer on Election Day. Each city and town has a different process for becoming a poll worker, and the clerk of your city will have the information.
Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Kathryn Carley began her career in community radio, and is happy to be back, covering the New England region for Public News Service. Getting her start at KFAI in Minneapolis, Carley graduated from the University of Minnesota and then worked as a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio, focusing on energy and agriculture. Moving to Washington, D.C., she filed stories for The Pacifica Network News and The Pacifica Report. Later Carley worked as News Host for New York Public Radio, WNYC as well as Co-Anchor for Newsweek’s long running radio program, Newsweek on Air. Carley also served as News Anchor for New York Times Radio. She now lives near Boston, MA.