Massachusetts Begins Early Voting For The First Time

KA_MA Mass Primary Election Voting Orleans_2016 winter_030116_003BARNSTABLE – Massachusetts residents can cast their ballots for the November election starting today.

For the first time early voting is available in the state. People will be able to cast a ballot, which is sealed until polls close on Election Day, through November 4.

“This is particularly beneficial, I think, to older voters who can’t stand in line or people who have some question about their schedule,” said William Galvin, the secretary of state.

Galvin said voters may want to think about early voting as a high turnout is expected.

“No matter what we do we expect a large turnout on November 8 and clearly during the prime time of early morning and later evening hours there are going to be lines and we know that,” Galvin said. “So this is an opportunity to avoid that if you have any doubt.

Early voting locations and times for each town can be found at the secretary of state’s website. Most towns also have hours and locations posted on their town websites.

“We hope [early voting] will hopefully enhance voter participation but for sure it is going to make it easier for those who want to participate and vote,” Galvin said.

Along with early voting, residents can also still cast absentee ballots.

“Absentee, which is already underway, requires a reason,” Galvin said.

The big difference is once an early voting ballot is turned in it can not be changed.

“You can’t say, ‘well gee I saw a new argument on this question I want to change my position,’ you are done. You can’t do that,” Galvin said.

Absentee balloters can hold onto their ballot and mail it in closer to the election or even go down and vote in person until the day before the election.

Absent ballot rights are just like they were before.

“Early voting is for people who really know what they are going to do,” Galvin said. “If you have any doubt then early voting may not be for you.”

The last two presidential elections had more than 3 million people turn out in Massachusetts.

“I’m surely optimistic that we are going to make that number again,” he said. “Registration has been up all year which we think is a good sign for the future.”

Cape Cod ballots will feature several contested local races to go along with the presidential race and the ballot questions.

“You have a State Senate fight. You have legislative fights. You have a Congressional fight and that is going to enhance the turnout,” Galvin said. “I’m optimistic we are going to get a big turnout.”

Massachusetts joins 32 other states that allow early voting.

Election Day is November 8.


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