On Election Day, some voters may find that their names have been placed on the list of inactive voters. The inactive voters list is made up of registered voters who have not responded to the annual street list or subsequent confirmation notice. Inactive voters may still vote, but will first be asked to show identification and will be required to fill out an affirmation of current and continuous residence.
The Annual Street List
Under state law, every city and town is required to communicate with each household and compile an annual street list – also known as a city or town census. Most cities and towns choose to communicate with residents by mail.
If a voter fails to respond to the annual street list, they will be placed on the inactive voters list and their local election official will send out a confirmation notice, which the voter is asked to sign and return. The confirmation notice is meant to confirm that the voter continues to reside at the address at which he or she is registered, or if the voter has moved, update the address on file. Voters who fail to return confirmation notices will remain on the inactive voters list.
If you are an inactive voter, it will be indicated on the list of voters when you check-in at your polling place. Before you may vote, you will be required to complete an affirmation of current and continuous residence. On this form, you must affirm that you continue to reside at the address at which you are registered, have moved within the same town, or have moved from one municipality to another Massachusetts municipality within six months of a state election.
You will also be asked to present identification which shows your name and the address at which you are registered to vote. It is not required that you present photo identification. Acceptable forms of identification include: a driver's license, state-issued ID card, recent utility bill, rent receipt, lease, a copy of a voter registration affidavit, or any other printed identification which contains your name and address.
As soon as you have completed the affirmation of current and continuous residence, you will be restored to the active voters list.
Removal from the List of Inactive Voters
Inactive voters remain registered to vote until they fail to vote in two consecutive biennial state elections. Inactive voters are restored to the active voters list any time they complete an affirmation of current and continuous residence, fill out a new voter registration form, or submit anything to their local election official which is signed under penalty of perjury and confirms the voter's address.
You may check your registration status here.