Absentee and Early Voting
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Absentee Ballot Eligibility
To qualify for an absentee ballot, you must:
- Be away from your city/town on Election Day; or
- Have a disability that keeps you from voting at your polling place; or
- Have a religious belief that prevents you from voting at your polling place on Election Day
For elections held through June 30, 2021, state law clarifies that any person taking precautions relating to COVID-19 qualifies for an absentee ballot by reason of physical disability.
Voting for Military and Overseas U.S. Citizens
If you are a Massachusetts citizen, you have the right to vote in all elections, even if you are deployed, stationed outside the Commonwealth, or residing overseas. Military voters, dependent family members of military voters, and overseas citizens are protected by the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), a federal law which guarantees your voting rights.
PLEASE NOTE: For city and town elections, you will receive your ballot by mail. If you do not receive your ballot in time, you have the option of submitting a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) by e-mail or fax.
Absentee vs. Early Voting
In Massachusetts, absentee voting is available in all elections, while early voting is available only in certain elections. The two systems overlap in several ways, but the most important difference is that absentee voters must have an excuse (listed above), while there is no excuse needed in order to vote early.
In elections in which early voting is available, there may still be certain circumstances when it would be appropriate to apply for an absentee ballot instead of an early ballot. such as: incarceration, quarantine (within 1 week of the election), and hospitalization (within 1 week of the election).
Applying for a Ballot
Absentee ballots must be requested in writing at least 4 business days before Election Day. Applications are available for download below. For absentee ballot applications, a member of your family may also make the request on your behalf.
If you are not able to print the application, you may request that one be mailed to you or you may write a letter to our office requesting your ballot. Make sure to include your name, your address, the place you would like the ballot mailed, and your signature. If you are requesting a primary ballot and you are unenrolled (independent), be sure to indicate which party's ballot you want to have mailed to you.
How to submit your application:
- BY MAIL: City Clerk’s Office, 210 Main Street, Room 4, Northampton MA 01060
- BY EMAIL: email@example.com
- BY FAX: (413) 587-1220
- IN HAND: Drop-off box located at Front Steps of City Hall, 210 Main Street (as of 9/3/2020 a bigger GREY box installed)