BOSTON — It’s the last chance to take advantage of in-person early voting before Election Day.
The lines, rising COVID numbers, and incessant rain, were not enough to stop crowds in Dorchester from casting their ballots early.
“It had to be done and something lit my fire today. I’m in pain but I stood in a line and now I’m going to wait for the bus in pain but I’m so happy that I got it,” said Dorchester voter June Cobb. “I feel a great relief has been lifted.”
As of 4 p.m. Thursday, 2,108,337 voters have already voted. That is 43.8% of all voters and 62.4% of our 2016 turnout.
“I want to know it’s done I’m not going to go this election without voting,” said Cobb.
“The Commonwealth is on track to set record turnout because of the legislation that the Election Modernization Coalition fought for this summer,” the coalition said in a statement. “This year is the first time that two weeks of early voting has been available to all Bay Staters in addition to expanded vote by mail.. This year’s historic early turnout shows that voters prefer having expanded options for casting ballots.”
Those voters who miss the early voting window may still participate in the elections on the last day to vote, Tuesday, November 3 from 7am to 8pm. Those who have requested or received their mail ballot can still vote by returning those ballots to their municipalities' secure drop box or city or town hall by 8pm on Election Day. Ballots mailed by Election Day are to be counted as well, as long as they arrive by 5pm on Friday November 6th. Voters can find their municipalities' dropbox locations on the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website.
The coalition encourages voters using mail ballots - whether returning them through a drop box or the mail - to track the status of their ballot at trackmyballotma.com. Eligible voters who have requested a mail ballot retain the right to vote in-person - even if they have mailed in their ballot - so long as their mail ballot has not been processed. Voters who choose to do so will simply have their mail ballot disregarded after they vote in person.
“We want to remind voters that Massachusetts elections officials have until 5 p.m. on Friday, November 6, to process ballots,” the coalition said. "This means that voters may not know the results for all races until then, and it is by design rather than delay. In a democracy, it is critical to ensure that every valid vote is counted.
“We’ll do everything to make sure there’s no threats to our ongoing voting system,” said Mayor Walsh Thursday trying to instill trust in the process.
However, the people standing in line Thursday wanted to avoid mailing in their vote.
“There’s a lot of things going on with the mail-in ballots, the post office,” said Shantell Campbell of Jamaica Plain. “It’s just a lot going on right now so I just prefer to do it in person so I know hopefully it counts.”
Despite voter intimidation, some are choosing mail in ballots to avoid crowds during the pandemic.
“There’s a lot of people here now but I know there will be more people trying to vote on November 3 which is great but just for safety I thought it would be better to do it early,” said Tamiko Beyer of Lower Mills.
On the second to last day for in-person early voting, long lines changed her plans.
“I came earlier today to vote early but then I saw the line and I had already had a mail-in ballot,” said Beyer.
Registered voters in Massachusetts can vote early in person until Friday depending on their home city/town---and advocates urge them to do so by checking their municipalities' early voting hours and location on the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website.
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