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Understanding Mail-In Voting

July 27, 2022

With the recent passing of The VOTES Act, we want to make clear how exactly the new electoral reforms will impact your voting experience. One of these reforms is mail-in voting, which provides voters the opportunity to request and submit ballots entirely by mail.

As the 2020 elections made clear, mail-in voting decreases barriers to the ballot box while ensuring electoral integrity. It also proved immensely popular with voters, as emphasized by the fact that, in the 2020 September Primary and November General Election, a majority of voters cast ballots by-mail. By making mail-in voting permanent, Massachusetts joins a growing list of states implementing the policy.

But how will the mail-in voting process actually work for you this year? We break it down.

  1. All registered voters in Massachusetts will receive applications for mail-in ballots at their permanent addresses by the end of July (many of you may have received them already!). This will allow you to sign up for mail-in voting for individual or all 2022 elections.

  2. If you choose to opt-in to mail-in voting, all you have to do is fill out the application and put it in the mail. Pre-paid postage is included with the mailed application you receive. You may also deliver your ballot application to your local elections office or a ballot drop box.

  3. A week or two later, you will receive your ballot in the mail. Fill that out, and follow all necessary instructions.

  4. Put it back in the mail - pre-paid postage is also included - or hand-deliver it to your local elections office/drop box. And voila, you’ve voted by mail!

If you plan to vote by mail, we strongly suggest that you request and return your mail-in ballot as quickly as possible for each election. Here are the most important dates to keep in mind.

  • August 29: last day to request a mail ballot for the State Primary.

  • September 6: Primary Election Day. All mail-in ballots must be received by your local elections office by 8 PM.

  • November 1: last day to request a mail ballot for the State Election.

  • November 8: Election Day. All mail ballots must be postmarked by this date.

  • November 11: all mail ballots for the State Election postmarked by November 8 must be received by your local elections office by 5 PM.

And here are a few tools to help with the mail-in voting process.

  • You can track your mail ballot here.

  • You can print another mail-in ballot application here. You can scan and send it to your local elections office electronically, or physically mail it.

  • You can find a list of ballot drop boxes across Massachusetts here. NOTE: to ensure your ballot is counted, only submit your ballot to the drop box in your city or town.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll share more info with you on what voting early in-person or on election day will look like. But in the meantime, if you or someone you know is interested in voting by mail, it is a superb - and convenient - way to make your voice heard!

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