Town Clerk John E. Flynn and the Watertown Election Commission are pleased to announce that all registered voters will be able to vote before Election Day for the first time ever in Massachusetts. Early voting will begin on Oct. 24 and continue through Nov. 4, 2016.
Prior to the enactment of this new law, the only way a registered voter was allowed to vote prior to Election Day was through absentee voting. Although absentee voting will still be available for registered voters who qualify, only those who will be absent from their city or town on Election Day, or have a disability that prevents them from going to the polls, or have a religious belief preventing the same, are legally allowed to vote by absentee ballot.
Unlike absentee voting, early voting is for every registered voter. Registered voters do not need an excuse or reason to vote early. Regardless of whether a voter wants to take advantage of early voting, vote absentee or vote on Election Day, the first step is making sure you are registered. To check to see if you are registered to vote, and to find information on how to register to vote, you may visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website: www.sec.state.ma.us/ele. If you need to register to vote, you may do it online by visiting: www.RegisterToVoteMA.com. All you need is a license or an I.D. issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles to apply online.
To be eligible to vote in the Nov. 8 State Election, you must register to vote or make any necessary changes to your voter registration by Oct. 19, 2016.
Early voting can be done in person or by mail. In Watertown, early voting can be done in person at the Watertown Administration Building, 149 Main Street during the following dates and times Monday (10/24 & 10/31) 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tuesday (10/25 & 11/1) 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Wednesday (10/26 & 11/2) 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Thursday (10/27 & 11/3) 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.;, Friday (10/28 & 11/4) 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Also, registered voters have the option to request an early voting ballot through the mail. Simply fill out an application and mail it to the Town Clerk’s Office, 149 Main St., Watertown, MA 02472. You can find the application on the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele.
Please note, however, once a voter has cast an early voting ballot, the voter may no longer vote at the polls on Election Day.
For the first time in Massachusetts, the first choice all voters will make is which day to vote. Early voting will make the most fundamental right of our citizens more convenient than ever to exercise. We encourage all of our citizens to exercise that right and take advantage of the opportunity to vote on their schedules.