Registering to Vote – Qualifications:
You may submit an application to register or pre-register to vote in Massachusetts if:
- You are a citizen of the United States; and
- You are 16 years old; and
- You are not currently incarcerated by reason of a felony conviction.
If you meet the above requirements, you may apply online, by mail, or in-person. The deadline to register to vote in any election or town meeting is ten (10) days prior to the date of the election or meeting. To register or pre-register to vote, click here.
If you are a new citizen who was naturalized after the last day to register to vote, you may register to vote in person at your local election office until 4 p.m. on the day before the election. You should bring documentation to show that your naturalization ceremony occurred after the voter registration deadline.
In order to register to vote online, you must have a signature on file with the Registry of Motor Vehicles. If you currently have a Massachusetts driver’s license or state ID card, you may use the online voter registration application to register, update your address, or change your party affiliation. Voter registration forms submitted online must be submitted by midnight on the date of the voter registration deadline.
Registering by Mail:
If you do not qualify to register to vote online, or if you would prefer to register by mail, you may download the voter registration form by using the link provided in the box to the right. The form must be completed, signed, and delivered to your local election official. Voter registration forms submitted by mail must be postmarked no later than the voter registration deadline.
If you would like to register in-person, you may do so at any local election office, as well as the Elections Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office. Voter registration is also available at the Registry of Motor Vehicles and at certain public assistance agencies. Voter registration forms completed in-person are valid as of the day that they are signed.
Automatic Voter Registration:
If you are a U.S. citizen applying for or renewing a driver’s license or state ID at the RMV, or applying for health insurance through MassHealth or the Commonwealth Health Connector, you will be automatically registered to vote, unless you opt out of registering.
If you opt out of registering to vote, or if your citizenship has not been confirmed by the RMV, MassHealth, or the Health Connector, you will not be registered to vote. If you do not opt out and your citizenship is confirmed, your name, address, and date of birth will be sent to your local election official to be added to the voter list and you will receive mailed confirmation of your registration within 2-3 weeks. Learn more about automatic voter registration.
Applying for your Ballot
If you wish to vote by mail, you will first need to submit an application for your ballot.
You may submit your Vote by Mail application to your local election office:
- By mail
- By email
- By fax
If you are a registered voter, you may submit your Vote by Mail application online, through our Mail-in Ballot Application System.
To apply by mail, you may use the application postcard sent to you by the Elections Division, or any other signed request. Every voter was sent a Vote by Mail application in July of this year. A second mailing will be sent in September to every voter who hasn’t already applied for a November ballot. These applications are pre-addressed to your local election office and postage pre-paid.
If you have not received an application or you need a new one, the Vote by Mail application can also be downloaded or printed from our website. Further, any written request with your signature is an acceptable application. You can simply write a signed letter to your local election office to apply for your ballot.
Applications not submitted through the online Mail-in Ballot Application System can be submitted by mail, email, or fax, but they must include a signature that can be compared to your hand-written signature. Electronic signatures, scanned applications, and photos of applications are acceptable.
Typed signatures on applications cannot be accepted, unless you are a voter who requires accommodations due to physical disability. If you are unable to sign your application or mark your ballot by hand due to a disability, please visit our page on Voting for Persons with Disabilities for information on requesting an accommodation.
Any mail-in ballot must be requested in writing at least 5 business days before Election Day.
Application deadlines for 2022 are listed below. Your application can only be accepted if it has reached your local election office by the deadline.
November 8, 2022 State Election
5 p.m., Tuesday, November 1, 2022
Apply as early as possible, especially if your ballot will need to be mailed out of town. The U.S. Postal Service recommends allowing up to 7 days for mail delivery. To ensure you receive your ballot with enough time to mail it back, you should apply 2-3 weeks before Election Day.
Returning your Ballot
There are several options for returning your ballot. You may return your ballot by:
- Mailing it back using the envelope provided; or
- Hand-delivering your ballot to your local election office; or
- Dropping your ballot off at an early voting location during early voting hours; or
- Using a ballot drop box provided by your city or town.
Ballots cannot be dropped off at a polling place on Election Day.
For the November 8, 2022 State Election, ballots returned in person or by drop box must be delivered by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots returned by mail from inside the United States must reach your local election office by 5 p.m. on November 12, 2022 in order to be counted. Mailed ballots received after 8 p.m. on Election Day can only be counted if they are postmarked by Election Day.
For all other elections, ballots must reach your local election office by the close of polls on Election Day in order to be counted.
Use our Track My Ballot tool to check the status of your ballot. The tracker will show you the date your ballot was mailed, the date it was returned, and whether your ballot was accepted or rejected.
Voting in Person
You can still vote in person if you’ve applied to vote by mail. You can vote at an early voting location or your polling place on Election Day.
You can’t vote in person if your ballot has been accepted by your local election office. You can’t take your ballot back or vote again.
Use our website to track your ballot status. If your ballot hasn’t been accepted by Election Day, you may vote in person at your polling place. If your ballot arrives at your local election office after you’ve voted, the mail-in ballot will be rejected.
To qualify for an absentee ballot, you must:
- Be away from your city/town on Election Day; or
- Have a disability that keeps you from voting at your polling place; or
- Have a religious belief that prevents you from voting at your polling place on Election Day
Absentee voters use the same ballots as early voters and have the same deadlines for returning their ballots. Most voters who qualify for an absentee ballot can choose instead to apply for an early Vote by Mail ballot. There are some times that an absentee ballot application is needed. You should fill out an absentee ballot application if:
- You are a U.S. citizen residing overseas; or
- You are on active military duty; or
- You are currently incarcerated for a reason other than a felony conviction; or
- You are requesting an emergency absentee ballot due to hospitalization.
Emergency Absentee Ballots
If you have been admitted to a healthcare facility within 1 week of the election, you may use the absentee ballot application to designate someone of your choice to deliver a ballot to you. The person you designate to deliver your ballot will need to bring the signed application to your local election office, pick up your absentee ballot, bring it to you, and return it for you by the close of polls on Election Day. Emergency ballots may be requested up until the close of polls.
Military & Overseas Voters
If you are a U.S citizen residing out of the country or on active military duty, you may use the Federal Post Card Application or the Massachusetts Absentee Ballot Application to request your ballot. More information is available on our page for Voting for Military & Overseas Citizens.
Vote by Mail Accommodations
If you have a disability that prevents you from marking a paper ballot independently, you may qualify to use the Accessible Vote by Mail system. Visit our Accessible Vote by Mail page for more information and to find an Accessible Vote by Mail Application.