Massachusetts Absentee Ballot Guide

Last updated March 22, 2016
Military and Overseas voters should visit the Overseas Vote Foundation. Long Distance Voter's information should only be used by voters with US mailing addresses.

Important Deadlines

  • Voter registration form: Postmarked 20 days before the election
  • Absentee ballot application: Received by noon on the day before the election - but highly recommended that you apply at least one month before the election
  • Voted absentee ballot: Received by the close of polls on election day

How to vote by absentee ballot

Register to vote

If you're out of state, you can register and apply for your absentee ballot at the same time using the Massachusetts Absentee Ballot Application.  Mail, fax, or hand-deliver your completed application to your "Local Election Official" c/o your City or Town Hall.  Your application must be received by the voter registration deadline, not the absentee ballot application deadline!

If you're not out of state - or if you don't plan on voting by absentee ballot - use our Voter Registration Tool to register to vote.  Enter your information, print and sign the completed form, and mail it to the address printed on the form.

Verify your voter registration

It's best to double check your registration before applying for your absentee ballot. Verify your voter registration today and avoid problems down the line. If there's a problem with your registration, register again before proceeding.

NOTE: Most people receive their voter registration cards in the mail 2-3 weeks after registering to vote. Don't worry if you lost your voter registration card. You don't actually need it to vote.

Make sure you're eligible to vote by absentee ballot

You may vote by absentee ballot if:

  • you will be absent from your city or town on election day, and/or
  • you have a physical disability that prevents your voting at the polling place, and/or
  • you cannot vote at the polls due to religious beliefs 
  • you are confined in a correctional facility or jail (but NOT on a felony charge)

Generally, a voter must be registered in order to vote absentee, though several exceptions exist: those outside of Massachusetts; prisoners; and members of the armed forces or merchant marine (and their spouses or dependents) do not need to be registered in order to vote absentee.

Apply for your absentee ballot

Download and complete the Massachusetts Absentee Ballot Application.  Mail or hand-deliver your completed application to your "Local Election Official" c/o your City or Town Hall.  Once the election official processes your form, they'll mail your ballot to you.

If you're away at college, temporarily outside the county, or physically disabled, a relative can use the Absentee Ballot Application by a Family Member to request the ballot for you. 

NOTE: one application is good for all elections during a year.  Once the application is processed, Massachusetts will automatically mail you a ballot for every election in which you are eligible to vote during the calendar year!

Receive, complete, and return your voted absentee ballot

Fill out your ballot, sign where indicated, put a stamp on it, and then mail your ballot back to the address printed no the return envelope.  Your ballot must be received before the polls close on election day.

Additional Information 

State Election Website:
Local Election Officials: Your Local Election Official is the best person to contact if you have questions.  They'll be able to provide up-to-date information on rules and deadlines. 


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