Early voting begins, and other 2020 voting information

Illustration of a Ballot box.

The City of Boston has announced preparations and additional early voting sites for the Nov. 3, 2020 election.

On Thursday, Sept. 24, the City of Boston sent out a press release announcing that Boston’s Board of Election Commissioners had certified Boston’s early voting and ballot drop-box locations and plans. 

On Friday, Oct. 2, the plans were updated, and the number of early voting locations in the city of Boston was increased from 21 to 27. Registered Boston voters may vote early at any Boston early voting location.

The only requirement to vote early in the city of Boston is that one must be a registered Boston voter, and the only requirement to vote early in the state of Massachusetts is that one must be a registered Massachusetts voter.

On Saturday, Oct. 17, early voting began in the state of Massachusetts. Early voting will run through Saturday, Oct. 30, and voters require no reason or excuse to vote early. 

According to the Oct. 2 press release, in-person early voting and voting on Election Day has been modified by the Election Department to reflect COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Voters will be required to wear a face covering, and to stand six feet apart while in line to vote. Roughly every two to three hours, polling sites will be cleaned. Poll workers will be set up with protective gear such as face-shields, face masks, gloves, disinfectant wipes and spray, and hand sanitizer.

In the state of Massachusetts, the deadline to register to vote is Saturday, Oct. 24. Applications for a mail-in ballot were sent to all registered Massachusetts voters for both the State Primary and the State Election, and must be completed, signed, and returned by Wednesday, Oct. 28. No excuse is necessary to vote by mail, either.

The Boston Election Department began mailing out ballots the week of Sept. 28. In the Oct. 2 press release, the Election Department urged voters to return their completed ballot to the Election Department as soon as possible. Voters can return completed ballots in two ways: by mail, or by placing their ballots in a dropbox around the city.

In order to vote by mail, voters must complete and postmark their ballots by Nov. 3, and the Election Department must receive it by November 6. 

In order to vote via dropbox, voters can locate one of the 17 drop box locations across the city. According to the City of Boston website, dropboxes opened on Oct. 17, when early voting began, and are open until November 3 at 8pm. Voters can drop off ballots in the drop boxes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Dropboxes are also monitored by surveillance 24/7.

Voters may also vote in person on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 3. Voters can find their polling location at https://www.sec.state.ma.us/wheredoivotema//bal/myelectioninfo.aspx, by filling out the basic information that the website asks for.

In this election, individuals are casting votes for more than just their pick for President of the United States. According to the press release from Oct. 2, this election also includes races for “Senator in Congress, Representative in Congress, Governor's Councilors, Senator in General Court, Representative in General Court, and Register of Probate.”

There are also two ballot questions this year: Motor Vehicle Mechanical Data, and Petition Ranked-Choice Voting, According to the press release, there are also two public policy questions in State Representative Districts 11, 15, 17 and 18.

For information regarding registering to vote, finding your polling place, requesting an absentee ballot and more, visit https://www.mass.gov/topics/voting. For a list of dropbox locations and voting information more specific to Boston, visit: https://www.boston.gov/news/mail-voting-information-city-boston.

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