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Voting & Elections Toolkits

Voting and advocacy resources by librarians for librarians

Voter Registration in Massachusetts


  • Age: 18 years or older; however, those 16 to 17 years of age may pre-register to vote. Once they turn 18, they will be added to the voter list.
  • Citizenship: Must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Residence: Must be a bona-fide resident of the Massachusetts town in which they are voting.
  • College students can either vote absentee in their home state or register to vote in MA.
  • Formerly incarcerated individuals: Those convicted of a felony may vote unless they are currently incarcerated.

More information on Massachusetts voter eligibility.

Check to see if you are already registered.


Voter registration deadlines are determined by the date of the election.

  • February 24, 2024 (Saturday) is the registration deadline for the 2024 Primary Election
  • October 26, 2024 (Saturday) is the registration deadline for in-person for the 2024 General Election.

Guidelines for voting in the 2024 Primary

Election Calendar

Online registration

To use the online voter registration system you must have a current and valid driver’s license, learner’s permit or non-driver photo identification card issued by the MA Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) and a signature on file with RMV.

Online registration form (in English, Spanish, Mandarin and Khmer)

Mail-in registration

Printable forms (in multiple languages)

This form must be mailed to your local election office.

Choosing a political party: You may choose a political party affiliation when you register, but it is not required.   

Updating registration      

To update registration after a move, name change, or change of political party affiliation, use the voter registration form.

Cancelling registration

Local Election Authorities for each town maintain the voter rolls. To remove someone from a voter roll, contact the local Election Authority.

Directory of Local Election Authorities

ID Requirements for Massachusetts Voters

ID Requirements for Registration

Online Registration

For online voter registration, a Massachusetts drivers license or state ID is required.

Mail-in Registration

Section 7 requires you to include your driver’s license number or the last 4 digits of your social security number on this application. This information will be verified through the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Commissioner of Social Security. If the information cannot be verified or you do not provide this information, you must provide identification either with this application or at your polling location when you go to vote. Sufficient identification includes a copy of a current and valid photo identification, current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document showing your name and address.

Mail-In Voter Registration Forms

ID Requirements for Voting

First-Time Voters:

If you are voting for the first time in a federal election in Massachusetts after registering to vote by mail, you may be required to show identification under federal law. It is recommended that you include a copy of your identification with your mail-in voter registration form; if you choose not to do so, you may be asked for identification when you go to your polling place on Election Day. If you are unable to present identification when you check-in, you may cast a provisional ballot and return later with identification. If you do not return with acceptable identification by close of polls, your ballot cannot be counted.

All Other Voters:

You may also be asked to show identification if you are on the list of inactive voters or if a poll worker has reasonable cause to request it. If you are not able to present identification in such a situation, you must still be permitted to vote; however, your ballot must be challenged. This means that your name and address, the name and address of the challenger, and the reason for the challenge must be written on your ballot. Your ballot will be cast normally, and will only be re-examined in the case of a recount, court order, or audit.

Acceptable identification must include your name and the address at which you are registered to vote. Examples of acceptable identification include: 

  • a driver's license or state-issued ID card, 
  • recent utility bill
  • rent receipt
  • lease
  • a copy of a voter registration affidavit
  • any other printed identification which contains the voter's name and address.

More information on ID requirements.


Where to get an ID

Registry of Motor Vehicles

Obtaining a Driver’s License or State ID

Casting a Ballot in Massachusetts

Important Dates


  • Presidential Primary Election: March 5, 2024 (Tuesday)

    • Registration Deadline: February 24, 2024 (Saturday)

    • Vote-by-Mail Application Deadline: February 27, 2024 (Wednesday)

  • Massachusetts State Primaries: September 3, 2024 (Tuesday)

    • Registration Deadline: August 24, 2024 (Saturday)

    • Vote-by-Mail Application Deadline: August 26, 2024 (Monday)

  • General Election: November 5, 2024 (Tuesday)

    • Registration Deadline: October 26, 2024 (Saturday)

    • Vote-by-Mail Application Deadline: October 29, 2024 (Tuesday)

Early voting: Early Voting is available the week before the election for primaries and two weeks before the election for the general election.

2024 Early Voting Periods

Presidential Primary: February 24 – March 1

State Primary: August 24 – August 30

State Election: October 19 – November 1

Absentee voting

You must apply to vote absentee. 

Opening/closing dates:

  • Applications for Absentee ballot must be received by the 5th business day before the election.
  • Once you have received your Absentee Ballot you can do one of the following:
  • If you choose to submit it in person, you must submit it by 12pm to your local election office by 12 p.m. on the day before the election, unless the day before the election is a holiday or a Sunday, in which case the application must be submitted by 5 p.m. on the last business day before the election. You cannot submit an absentee ballot in person on the day of the election.


  • 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.

Military voters and voters who reside outside the U.S.

  • Your absentee ballot application should be submitted to your local election official. Your absentee ballot application will be valid until December 31st of this year. Submit a new application each year in which you wish to vote.
  • The best application to use is the Federal Post Card Application (FPCA), which is an application designed by the federal government specifically for military and overseas voters.
  • Overseas ballots must be received by the Town Clerk by 5pm, 10 days after election day in order to be counted.

More information can be found on the Military and Overseas Voters page of the Secretary of the Commonwealth's website.

Who is eligible to use an absentee ballot?

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.

Application for Absentee Ballot (English, Spanish, Chinese, Khmer).

More information can be found on the Absentee Voting page of the Secretary of the Commonwealth's website.



Polling places and hours

Rides to the polls

Some organizations have offered free or discounted rides to polling places, for example Lyft.

Political parties sometimes arrange rides for voters. Contact their local offices to confirm that this service is offered:

Help for voters with disabilities


Massachusetts requires all polling places have accessible voting machines such as AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminals. More information for voters with disabilities is available on the Secretary of the Commonwealth's website


Contact Information for the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Accessible Vote by Mail Coordinator:


Phone: 617-727-2828


Disability Law Center--Massachusetts operates the Protection and Advocacy for Voting Access (PAVA) program.

More information on their Protection & Advocacy Agency Access Authority.

Contact Information for Disability Law Center :


Main Office (Boston, MA) Phone: 617-723-8455

Western Massachusetts Office (Northampton, MA) Phone: 413-584-6337


Primaries vs. general elections

  • Primary elections are conducted to select each party’s candidates in the general election.
  • In Massachusetts, a voter must be a member of a political party in order to vote in that party’s primary.
  • In a general election, voters are not required to have a party affiliation.



Offices/Measures That May Appear on the Ballot


(even years)

President/Vice-President (elected every four years; next election in 2024)

Senator (elected every six years for staggered terms; next election in 2024)

Representative (elected every two years; next election in 2024)


(even years)

Governor’s Council (elected every two years; next election 2024)

Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of the Commonwealth, Treasurer, Auditor, Attorney General (elected every four years; next election 2026)

State Senator (elected every two years; next election 2024)

State Representative (elected every two years; next election 2024)

Statewide ballot measures


(even years)

County Commissioner

District Attorney     

County Treasurer     

Register of Probate     

Register of Deeds         

Clerk of Courts      



Who are the candidates, and what else is on the ballot?


  • The ballots of the Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian Parties will list candidates for the role of Presidential Preference, State Committee Man and State Committee Woman.
    • The list of candidates for the 2024 Primary Election is available on the Secretary of the Commonwealth's website.
  • State-wide ballot measures may also appear on the ballot.
  • Sample Ballot for the Primary Election.


Important Dates

Election Day is November 5, 2024 (Tuesday)

  • Registration Deadline: October 26, 2024 (Saturday)
  • Vote-by-Mail Application Deadline: October 29, 2024 (Tuesday)

Dates of municipal elections can be found in the State Election Calendar.

Who conducts elections?

  • The Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the Commissioner of Elections and oversees statewide and local elections
  • Local election officials maintain voter rolls for each municipality
  • Local election officials prepare ballots and administer balloting for each municipality
  • Information on how and when ballots are counted.

Voters' Bill of Rights

The Massachusetts Voters' Bill of Rights details the rights guaranteed to all qualified registered voters in Massachusetts.



Where to go with complaints about candidates or how elections are conducted

The Elections Division oversees state elections. Concerns and complaints can be addressed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Elections Division at 1-800-462-VOTE (8683).

Additional Contact Information for the Elections Division:


Mailing Address:  

Secretary of the Commonwealth Elections Division

One Ashburton Place
Room 1705
Boston, MA   02108

Campaign finance

Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance provides access to candidates’ election committee and Political Action Committee campaign finance filings.

How to contact your elected officials:

Find your elected officials.

General Resources on Voting and Elections

General Resources on Voting and Elections

Election Protection Hotlines

1-866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)

1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682) (en Español)

1-888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683) (Asian multilingual assistance)

1-844-YALLA-US (844-925-5287) (Arabic)

Voter Registration & Election Day Resources

Find useful voter information including:

  • Local Election Office and Contact Information
  • Address, Telephone and Email for Local Election Offices
  • Upcoming Federal Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Upcoming State Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Eligibility Requirements
  • Identification Requirements
  • Voter Materials Transmission Options
  • State Lookup Tools – Am I Registered? Where’s my Ballot?

Population-Specific information and Resources

Voting Rights: Laws, Cases, Policy

Voter Engagement

Voter Education

Campaign Finance/Funding Information

Primary Sources, Lesson Plans & Exhibits


Librarians from the Government Documents Round Table (GODORT), a Round Table of the American Library Association (ALA), created these reference guides. These guides are intended for informational purposes only and are not in any way intended to be legal advice.

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