En español | The Massachusetts Sept. 6 primary will determine which candidates appear on November’s general election ballot for governor, the U.S. House of Representatives, state legislature and other statewide races.
Voting in the 2022 elections has changed in several ways. A new 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.
Also, Massachusetts’ new redistricting plan has altered certain boundaries of state legislative and U.S. congressional districts. These changes may affect which candidates appear on your ballot.
You’ll be automatically registered to vote at the 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.
Yes. 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.
A new law allows every registered voter in Massachusetts to vote by mail without an excuse.
Request a mail ballot online, by mail or in person. Registered voters who do not request a mail ballot will automatically be sent a pre-addressed application with prepaid postage in July for any election this year and in September for the general election.
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 still request an absentee ballot. Go to the secretary of the commonwealth’s website to download and complete 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. You’ll either be directed to your nearest election office or drop box. You may also cancel your ballot and 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 from Aug. 27 to Sept. 2 for the primary and Oct. 22 to Nov. 4 for the general election. Every city and town is required to offer weekend voting hours. Contact your local election office for hours and locations.
The state's primary election is Tuesday, Sept. 6; the general election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls must be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., but some may open earlier. Check with your local election office.
If you were in line before the polls closed, you’ll still be allowed to vote.
Use the state’s voting portal to find your polling place.
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 July 21 with information about changes to voting in 2022. The guide was first published on Aug. 18, 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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