Many answers to questions about the 2024 elections in Massachusetts can be found on the secretary of state's website, voteinMA.com, said Debra O’Malley, a spokesperson for Secretary William Galvin. The site allows residents to track a mail-in ballot, find polling places and even gives advice how to contact their local election official, among others.
Here are answers to many basic questions.
When are the 2024 primary elections in Massachusetts?
The presidential primary election date is slated for Super Tuesday, March 5, 2024, along with primaries in 14 other states. The state's primary election for seats in the state House of Representatives and Senate will be in September, but the date has not yet been set.
How do I register to vote in Massachusetts?
To register to vote in Massachusetts, you must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of Massachusetts, at least 18 years old, and not currently incarcerated by reason of a felony conviction. State residents who are 16 and 17 years old and can preregister to vote.
There are multiple options for registering:
-Online, if you have a signature on file with the state Registry of Motor Vehicles.
-By mail, with the form sent to your local election office and postmarked by the registration deadline.
-In person, at your local town clerk, election commission or board of registrars office; the secretary of state's elections division, or at one of the secretary of state's regional offices.
-Automatically, if you apply for or renew your driver's license at the RMV, apply for or renew a learner's permit, apply for or renew a state ID, apply for MassHealth benefits, or apply for health insurance through the Commonwealth Health Connector.
When is the deadline to register to vote in Massachusetts?
The voter registration deadline in Massachusetts is 10 days before a general election. So those planning to vote on November should register by Friday, Oct. 27. Some communities, but not all, will accept registration on Saturday, Oct. 28; checking with municipal election officials is recommended.
Residents can click visit VoteinMa.com and click “Check my voter information” to find out if they are registered, and to learn their local ward or district and polling site.
There is no election day voter registration in Massachusetts.
Different ways to vote in Massachusetts
-On election day, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. statewide for state primaries and elections. For municipal elections, the times may vary. You can check with your local election office. You may need to show identification if you are voting in Massachusetts for the first time, are on the inactive voter list, are casting a provisional or challenged ballot, or if a poll worker has a practical and legal reason to ask for identification.
-Early, in-person voting is available beginning 17 days before a statewide election, and 10 days before a presidential or state primary election. The early voting period ends four days prior to election day. The early voting period for municipal elections varies; check with your local election office for dates and locations.
-No-excuse early voting by mail is available in all state elections, state primaries, presidential primaries, and most local elections. Any mail-in ballot must be requested in writing by 5 p.m. on the fifth business day before the election, and your application will only be accepted if it has reached your local election office by the deadline. To request a mail ballot, you will need to submit an application to your local election office, or use the state's mail-in ballot application system.
Voter inactivation: why have I been marked inactive?
Voters become inactive if they fail to respond to the annual street survey or census sent out by municipalities in January. If they still reside at the address where they registered to vote, the affidavit is an option.
However, there are special circumstances that allow residents marked as “inactive” to sign an affidavit at their polling location attesting to their residential address. Once completed, they are allowed to cast a ballot. And they become active again.
If voters have moved within a municipality, they can return to their former polling place to vote there. Once voters leave their municipality, they are out of luck in local elections. However, the state has a six month grace period for statewide elections, relocated voters can return to their former address to cast a statewide ballot.
Registered voters can only be removed from the active list for failure to vote if they miss two federal election cycles and if they had failed to respond to the street listing.
“If a registered voter fails to cast a ballot in 2023, 2024 and 2026, and they fail to respond to the annual census, then they are deleted from the rolls; the assumption is that they have moved,” said O’Malley.
This article originally appeared on Telegram & Gazette: When is the deadline to register to vote in Massachusetts?