In order to be eligible to vote by absentee ballot in Massachusetts, a voter must be prevented from voting at their polling place on Election Day, due to:
- Absence from the voter’s city or town on Election Day; or
- Physical disability; or
- Religious belief.
- Early voting is available for biennial state elections. The next election for which early voting will be available is the November 6, 2018 State Election.
Applying for Absentee Ballots
Absentee ballots must be requested in writing by either the voter or the voter’s family member. For convenience, absentee ballot applications may be downloaded from this page; however, any written communication evidencing a desire for an absentee ballot is acceptable. If you would like to request an absentee ballot, you may submit an application or a signed letter to your local election official. If you are requesting an absentee ballot for a family member, be sure to submit the request to the voter’s local election official.
When completing the application, you may indicate whether you are requesting a ballot for a specific election, or if you will be needing a ballot for all elections this year. Please note that absentee ballot applications expire at the end of each calendar year. If you are a voter with a permanent physical disability, you may file a note from your doctor to that effect with your local election official. Voters with permanent physical disabilities are sent completed applications at the beginning of each year, to be signed and returned to their local election official.
All requests for absentee ballots must be received by your local election official no later than 12 p.m. on the day before the election for which the ballot is being requested. Applications may be submitted in person, by mail, fax, or by e-mail; however, the local election official must be able to view the signature of the person requesting the ballot. If the application is being submitted by e-mail, a scanned copy of the request must be submitted.
Contact information for local election officials may be found here.
If you are voting by mail, you should be sure to submit your application in a timely manner. Please allow enough time for the ballot to be mailed to you and for you to return the ballot by Election Day. All ballots being mailed from inside the United States must be received by your local election official no later than the close of polls on Election Day.
If you would like to vote in person, you may do so in the office of your local election official. In-person absentee voting should be arranged ahead of time.
When Absentee Ballots are Counted
Except for ballots which are rejected as defective, all absentee ballots are cast and counted by the poll workers on Election Day. Absentee ballots are included in the final tallies, and are counted whether or not an election contains a close race.
For the most accurate and up-to-date info, please visit the official Massachusetts Secretary of State website.