Fall Elections Bill Signed into Law

LWVMA congratulates everyone involved in the passage of H.4820, An Act relative to voting options in response to COVID-19, which Governor Baker signed July 6, 2020.

This important measure will assure that our Sept. 1 primary election and Nov. 3 general election are held in a way that increases the the voting options for MA residents, improves the safety of voters and poll workers, eases the workload on local election officials, and creates confidence in the conduct of these elections.  The final bill passed unanimously in the Senate and by a 157-1 vote in the House.  Thanks to all of you who urged your legislators to act on this bill.

The law requires the Secretary of the Commonwealth to mail an application for a ballot for the primary election by July 15 to every voter who is registered as of July 1. It requires the Secretary to mail a ballot application for the general election by Sept. 14 to every voter registered as of Sept. 1.

An online portal to apply for a ballot for the general election will be available by Oct. 1.  In the meantime, you can download an application for a mail ballot here.

In-person early voting is Aug. 22-28 for the primary and Oct. 17-30 for the general election and must include some weekend hours. Specific hours will be determined by local election officials.

Voter registration deadlines are shortened to 10 days before the election instead of 20 days, so Aug. 22 for the primary election and Oct. 24 for the general election.

Postage-paid return will be provided for applications and mailed ballots.

See the Secretary’s website here for frequently-asked questions on voting by mail.

We particularly thank our partners in the Election Modernization Coalition for their continued dedication to improving voting in Massachusetts:  Common Cause Massachusetts, ACLU Massachusetts, MassVOTE, MassPIRG, Massachusetts Voter Table, and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights.