2012 Information For Voters


Where do I vote?

Polling places are located in each precinct in your city or town. Call your local election official or the Elections Division at 1-800-462-VOTE (8683) or 617-727-2828 to find out where your polling place is located. You can also visit the Elections Division website at www.wheredoivotema.com to look up your polling place and view a sample ballot.

All polling places are required by federal and state law to be accessible to elderly and disabled voters.

How long are the polls open?

The polls must be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for State Elections. Some municipalities may open their polls as early as 5:45 a.m. Please call your city or town clerk to verify your polling hours.

How do I find out what offices and candidates are on my ballot?

Sample ballots as well as instruction cards are posted at the polls on election day. Also, you can view a sample ballot at the Elections Division website: www.wheredoivotema.com.

I registered to vote, but my name is not on the voting list—what do I do?

If you registered to vote, but your name is not on the voting list, ask the election officer in charge of the polling place to check your registration by looking at the inactive voter’s list and by checking to see if you may be registered in another precinct in that municipality.

If they still cannot find your name, you may go to city or town hall to attempt to establish your identity as a registered voter or you may cast a provisional ballot at the polling place.

To cast a provisional ballot, you must execute a provisional ballot affirmation before a precinct officer at the polling place declaring that you are a registered voter in the city or town and reside within the geographical boundaries of said precinct. You must also show suitable identification.

After the election, the local election official will search for records to confirm your voter registration. If your eligibility is confirmed, your ballot will be counted. If your eligibility cannot be confirmed, your ballot will remain sealed in an envelope until such time as it is required to be kept and then will be destroyed without being viewed.

What is the voting process?

In Massachusetts, every voter casts a paper ballot. Upon entering the polling place, each voter must give their address and name so the poll worker can check it off the list before giving you a ballot. Once you get your ballot, you go to a booth where you mark your choices for the candidates for offices and ballot questions. After marking your ballot, you must check-out by providing your address and name again before depositing your ballot into the either the ballot box or tabulator.

What if I need assistance?

If you need assistance because of vision impairment, disability, inability to read or to read English, you may seek help from either a person of your choice or from election officials.

You may also ask the election officials to use the AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminal, which is an accessible ballot marking device, to mark your ballot. As part of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA), there will be at least one AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminal at each polling location. The AutoMARK allows a voter to mark their ballot privately and independently. After inserting the ballot into the AutoMARK, the voter can review the ballot and make selections by using the touch screen and/or the keypad while listening to the ballot over a set of headphones. After making all of the choices on the ballot, the AutoMARK will mark the ballot in accordance with the voter’s choices by filling in the corresponding ovals or connecting the arrows on the ballot. The ballot will then be returned to the voter for deposit into the ballot box.

What if I make a mistake on my ballot?

If you make a mistake on your ballot, you may request a new one. You may request up to two new ballots.

Can I bring materials into the polling place?

Yes, you may bring materials into the voting booth. You can bring preprinted brochures or pamphlets, or your own notes, but you cannot display such materials while in the polling location. Also, you must take any materials with you when you leave the voting booth.

Will I need to show identification?

You may be required to show personal identification to vote. If you registered to vote by mail you may be required to show identification when you vote for the first time in a federal election, such as the 2012 election.

Also, under Massachusetts law, any voter may be asked to show identification if there is a question about their identity.

Acceptable identification must include your name and the address at which you are registered to vote, for example: a current and valid driver’s license, photo identification, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document showing your name and the address at which you are registered to vote.