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How to vote by absentee ballot

Last updated:

You can vote by absentee ballot if you can’t go to the polls on Election Day. There are two ways to apply for a ballot.

Step
1

Before you get started by mail

You can request an absentee ballot for yourself, or have a family member request an absentee ballot for you.

Are you a Massachusetts citizen living outside of the U.S.? The federal government has a separate application and process that you need to complete. Please visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program website for more information.

Please note:

Any absentee request by mail must be received by 5 p.m. the Wednesday before the election.

Step
3

Mail us your application

Mail your completed application to:

Boston Election Department
1 City Hall Square, Room 241
Boston, MA 02201

The Boston Election Department is now providing postage paid envelopes for the return of voted ballots.

The postage paid envelopes are the result of an Ordinance to increase voter participation that was passed by the City Council and signed by the Mayor in September 2021.

Step
4

Complete and send in your ballot

We’ll send you an Absentee Ballot in the mail with a set of return envelopes. You can mail the ballot to the address on the *postage paid envelope. Please submit your completed ballot as soon as possible. You can track your ballot through the state's website. Make sure to call the Elections Department before Election Day if you haven't seen movement in the tracker.

Plan to return your ballot in person?
  • If you plan to return your ballot in person instead of mailing it, we have 20 dedicated drop boxes at located throughout the City. You have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to drop off your ballot. You can also drop off your ballot at any early voting location during the City's early voting period.
  • If a voter brings a mail-in ballot to their polling location on Election Day, they will be provided with the opportunity to cast their vote in-person at that polling location. A poll worker will help them in ensuring that their mail-in ballot is spoiled before casting the in-person vote.
Step
1

Before you get started in person

You can vote in person by Absentee Ballot at the Elections Department in Boston City Hall:

Boston Election Department
1 City Hall Square, Room 241
Boston, MA 02201
Office hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Please note:

You have until 12 p.m. the Monday before the election to vote in person.

Step
2

Fill out the application

When you visit our office, you will be asked to fill out an absentee ballot application. It includes instructions for how to complete the fields. The application is also available in Spanish.

Step
3

Vote!

We'll give you an Absentee Ballot after you complete your application. You can fill our your Absentee Ballot and give it back to us that day.

Keep in mind

WHO CAN VOTE by ABSENTEE BALLOT?

Registered Massachusetts voters can use an absentee ballot if:

  • they’re going to be out of town during polling hours on Election Day
  • they have a physical disability and can't get to the voting location, or
  • they can't vote at the polls because of religious beliefs.

Non-registered voters can use an absentee ballot if:

  • they are a Massachusetts citizen, but they won’t be in the state
  • they are an active member of the military (this includes their spouses or dependents), or
  • they are in prison or jail on a non-felony conviction.
Please note:

You have until 12 p.m. the Monday before the election to vote in person. Any absentee request by mail must be received by 5 p.m. the Wednesday before the election.

Related resources:
Contact:
1 CITY HALL SQUARE, ROOM 241
BOSTON, MA 02201
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