Massachusetts Voters to Cast Ballots Early for First Time

KA_town elections selectman_orleans_election_051716_008SANDWICH – Massachusetts is gearing up for a major change in how elections are run.

For the first time, voters will have a chance to cast their ballots as early as 11 business days before Election Day.

“Having it being implemented on the November 8th presidential primary year will probably pose some challenges for us clerks across the Cape and Islands, but I guarantee we’re going to be able to figure it out and implement it the best we can, and have voters get in and out as fast as possible,” said Sandwich Town Clerk Taylor White.

Last week a coalition including the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and Common Cause Massachusetts reported on how prepared local communities across the state are to implement the new law.

The coalition also discussed a statewide phone survey that they conducted of all 351 cities and towns, which highlighted successes and other areas that need improvement.

Although the votes will be cast during the early voting period, they will not be counted until Election Day.

In Sandwich, there will be an extra voting machine that will count all of the early voting ballots by precinct on Election Day, and will be added on to the tally at the end of the evening.

White does not expect the early voting ballots to delay the final tally at the end of the night on Election Day.

“We’re going to be tallying them in the middle of the day and even if we have several thousand, we’ll be able to get all those numbers into our computer and into our voting machines prior to the close of polls, which we should be very quickly, be able add on to the end of the night, so I don’t expect too much of a delay,” said White.

In 2014, Massachusetts passed an election reform law requiring early voting every two years for the November election.

This year, the early voting period will begin October 24 and end on November 4.

Election Day is November 8.

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