How to Vote in Massachusetts’ 2024 Elections

Posted on 05/22/24 by Elissa Chudwin

En español

Important dates and election information

Key dates

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  • State primary: Tuesday, Sept. 3
  • General election: Tuesday, Nov. 5

Voting at a glance

  • Mail voting: All registered voters may vote by mail without a reason. Certain people, including active military members, should request an absentee ballot.
  • Voting at the polls: Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Some first-time and inactive voters may be asked to show identification, such as a driver’s license, at the polls on Election Day.

Voting in Massachusetts

What to know about recent changes

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.

Voter registration

Register online, by mail or in person.

  • Online: If you have a Massachusetts driver’s license or state identification card, you can register or update your information through the state’s voter registration system. Register online by Saturday, Aug. 24, for the state primary.
  • By mail: Download, print and fill out a mail-in registration form. Or call your local election office or the state elections division at 800-462-8683 to request one. Include your signature and your current Massachusetts driver’s license number or the last four digits of your Social Security number on the form before mailing it to your local election office. Forms must be postmarked by Saturday, Aug. 24, for the state primary. 

You’ll be automatically registered to vote at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles when applying for or renewing a driver’s license, unless you unenroll later. You’ll also be automatically registered if you apply for state health insurance through MassHealth or the Massachusetts Health Connector.

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

Registering to vote on Election Day

Massachusetts does not offer same-day registration.

Primary voting and party affiliation

If you registered as a Democrat, Republican or Libertarian, you can only vote in that specific party’s primary. If you’re not enrolled in a political party, you can choose which party’s ballot you’ll vote in the primary. In that case, you will continue to be listed as an unenrolled voter in future elections.

A lone voter casts his ballot at a polli
A lone voter casts his ballot at a polling station inside a a school, during a primary elections in Cambridge, Mass. Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images

Ways to vote

Requesting a mail ballot

Every registered voter in Massachusetts can vote by mail without a reason. Applications must be received by Monday, Aug. 26, for the state primary.

  • Online: Go to the state’s mail ballot application system. Before you can request a mail ballot, you’ll need to verify your voter registration status.
  • By email/fax: Print and complete an application, then email or fax it to your local election office. Your application must be signed or include a photocopy of your signature. Voters who cannot sign the form due to a disability can use the online system, which has accommodations.
  • By mail: Download, print and complete an application. Or fill out the preaddressed form you received in the mail. Mail your completed, signed form to your local election office. It’s recommended that you apply at least two weeks before Election Day in case there are postal delays. 

Massachusetts residents living overseas, active military members, incarcerated residents without a felony conviction and voters who are hospitalized should request an absentee ballot instead of a mail ballot. Find more information, including an absentee ballot application, at the secretary of the commonwealth’s website.

Returning a mail ballot

Return your mail ballot by mail or in person.

  • By mail: Mail your ballot to your local election office. It must be received by the close of polls (8 p.m.) on Election Day.  
  • In person: You or anyone living in your household can hand-deliver your mail ballot to your local election office or early voting location. Or place your ballot in a secure ballot drop box before the close of polls on Election Day.

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 have not yet returned it, you still can choose to vote in person.

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

Use the Track My Ballot tool to check the status of your ballot.

Voting in person before Election Day

Cast your ballot early and in person at your local election office or another early vote site from Saturday, Aug. 24, through Friday, Aug. 30, for the state primary.

Voting at the polls on Election Day

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you were in line before 8 p.m., you’ll still be allowed to vote.

Find your polling place at the state’s voter portal.

Voter ID requirements on Election Day

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 with your name and address. More information is available at the secretary of the commonwealth’s website.

Voting with a disability

Each polling place has accessible parking, ramps and at least one accessible voting machine.

Voters who need assistance filling in their ballot can receive help from either an election official or someone they choose, as long as that person is not an employer or union official.

More information is available at the secretary of the commonwealth’s website.

More information about candidates

Key races:

  • U.S. President
  • U.S. House: nine seats
  • U.S. Senate: one seat
  • State House: 160 seats
  • State Senate: 40 seats
  • Governor's Councillor: eight seats

A complete list of candidates is available at the secretary of the commonwealth’s website.

Editor’s note: This guide was originally published on Jan. 25, 2024, and has been updated with new information.

Elissa Chudwin covers federal and state policy and writes the podcast Today’s Tips from AARP. She previously worked as a digital producer for The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, California, and an editor for the Advocate magazines in Dallas.

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