How to Register, Vote and Track Your Ballot in Massachusetts

Posted on 11/09/22 by Natalie Missakian, Elissa Chudwin

En español | Massachusetts offers several ways to register to vote, including automatic registration when you renew your driver’s license. No-excuse mail voting, introduced during the 2022 elections, lets any registered voter cast a mail ballot without a reason.

The 2022 midterms decided races for governor, seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, state legislature and other statewide offices. The next statewide elections are in 2024, with elections in some cities, including Boston, in 2023. More information about Boston’s upcoming election is available at

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  • Mail voting: All registered voters may vote by mail without an excuse. Certain people, including active military members, still should request an absentee ballot.
  • Voting at the polls: Inactive and first-time voters may be asked to show an ID, such as a driver’s license, at the polls on Election Day.

A 2022 law established no-excuse mail voting, extended the voter registration window and expanded early voting with weekend hours. The law also mandates prepaid postage for vote-by-mail applications and ballots, among other changes.

Redistricting in 2021 has altered certain boundaries of state legislative and U.S. congressional districts.

Register online, by mail or in person:

  • Online: If you have a Massachusetts driver’s license or state ID card, you can register online through the state’s voter registration system.
  • In person: Go to your local election office during normal business hours to register or update your information.

You’ll automatically be registered to vote at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles if you apply for or renew a license unless you opt out. You’ll also be automatically registered if you apply for state health insurance through MassHealth or the Massachusetts Health Connector, the state’s health insurance exchange.

Check your registration status using the state’s online voter portal.

If you register as a Democrat or Republican, you can only vote in that party’s primary. If you’re not enrolled in a party, you can choose either party’s ballot and will continue to be listed as an unenrolled voter in future elections.

Every registered voter in Massachusetts can vote by mail without a reason. Before an election, request a mail ballot online, by mail or in person:

  • By mail: Download, print and complete an application. Or fill out the pre-addressed form you received in the mail. Mail your completed form to your local election office. You’re encouraged to apply at least two weeks before Election Day to allow for postal delays. 

U.S. citizens living overseas, active military members, incarcerated residents without a felony conviction and voters who are hospitalized and need an emergency absentee ballot should request an absentee ballot. Go to the secretary of the commonwealth’s website to download an absentee ballot form.

Return your completed ballot by mail or in person:

If you’ve been admitted to a health care facility within a week of the election, you can designate someone to pick up an absentee ballot and return it for you before polls close.

Note that you can’t drop off your ballot at a polling place on Election Day. If you’ve applied for a mail ballot but not yet returned it, you still can choose to vote in person.

Track your ballot through the secretary of the commonwealth’s website

Cast your ballot early and in person at your local election office or another early vote site. More information about early voting will be made available at the secretary of the commonwealth’s website as statewide elections approach.

Find your polling place at the state's voter portal. Check with your local election office to confirm voting hours. If you were in line before the polls closed, you’ll still be allowed to vote.

If you’re a first-time Massachusetts voter who registered by mail, or if you’re an inactive voter who didn’t respond to your annual city or town census to confirm your address, you may be asked to show an ID that proves your name and address. Acceptable forms of ID include a driver’s license, utility bill or bank statement. 

If you’re a first-time voter without ID, you can cast a provisional ballot. Your vote will be counted if you return with identification before the polls close.

If your name is on the inactive voter list, you can cast a challenged ballot that will be re-examined only if there’s a recount, court order or audit.

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Nov. 9, 2022, with more information about how to vote in Massachusetts. The guide was first published on Aug. 6, 2020.

This story is provided by AARP Massachusetts. Visit the AARP Massachusetts page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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