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New regulations relating to early voting in Massachusetts became effective on August 26, 2016, in time for the 2016 fall elections. The regulations implement the requirements set forth in General Laws Chapter 54, Section 25B, “Early voting; application for early voting ballots; early voting period, sites and lists; counting of early voting ballots.” The 2014 Election Reform Law  created the early voting option in Massachusetts.

Under the new regulations, early voters have two options. Cities and towns will be required to have at least one polling place open during “usual business hours” from October 24, 2016 to November 4, 2016. Additional hours, including on weekends, may be provided at the discretion of the local election officials.  Alternatively, “any qualified voter wanting to vote early by mail may file with his or her local election official an application for an early voting ballot.” The mail-in ballot would need to be “received in the office of the local election official before noon on the last day of the early voting period.”

To find out about early voting in a particular municipality, contact information for the Town and City Clerks who serve as election officials is available online. Boston has an Elections Department, and Mayor Walsh has already announced Boston’s early voting locations for the November 8 Presidential Election.

The Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Election Division , as always, will provide further information about the voting process.

“Massachusetts Law About Elections and Voting” can direct you to more information on the broader topic.

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