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City of Boston issues reminders ahead of Municipal Election

The City of Boston Election Department is reminding residents that Tuesday, November 2, 2021 is the Municipal Election.

Voting by mail and early voting have ended. Registered voters who haven’t cast their ballots must now either return their mail-in ballot to one of the 22 drop-box locations or vote in person at their assigned polling place by 8:00 p.m. 

Tuesday's election includes the following races: Mayor of Boston, City Council At- Large and District City Council. In addition to the municipal races, there are three ballot questions: 1. A proposed amendment to the Boston City Charter that would change the City of Boston’s budget process. 2. Should an Eversource substation be built in East Boston along the Chelsea Creek. 3. Should the current appointed Boston School Committee structure be changed to a committee elected by the residents of Boston. 

Vote-by-mail

The Election Department mailed out all 55,665 requested vote-by-mail and absentee ballots, and as of Sunday, 33,890 ballots have been returned to the City and will be counted on Election Day. 

All vote-by-mail ballots must be returned to the Boston Election Department by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, November 2nd in order to be counted. Voters who have not received their requested mail-in ballot, must plan to vote in-person at their polling location on Election Day. Voters can track the status of requests for vote-by-mail ballots here. If there is no movement indicated in the “Track My Ballot” system, voters should plan to vote in-person.

Vote-by-mail ballots can also be returned by being deposited in one of the 22 ballot drop boxes located around the City of Boston.

Early Voting

The City of Boston held a week of early voting with 19 polling locations across the City. During the early voting period, 6,499 votes were cast in-person. 

Voting on Election Day

On Election Day, polling locations in Boston will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Voters who no longer want to vote by mail and their ballot has not been received by the Election Department, may vote in-person at their designated polling location. Voters can find their polling location for Election Day here.

On Election Day, printed ballots will be available in English and Spanish, English and Chinese, and English and Vietnamese. There are over 550 poll workers who are able to provide assistance across the 255 voting precincts in languages including English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Haitian Creole, Cape Verdean, Russian, and Portuguese. All poll workers have been trained on following the COVID-19 safety protocols. All voting locations are handicap accessible and are equipped with AutoMARK Voting Terminals for voters with visual or language disabilities. 

Due to COVID-19, health and safety protocols on Election Day will be implemented at each polling location. All poll workers will receive face shields, face masks, gloves, disinfectant wipes, disinfectant spray and hand sanitizer. Cleaning will take place at each site every two to three hours. Voters waiting in line will be instructed to stand six feet away from others and wear a face covering. 

Unofficial Results

After polls close at 8 p.m., the Election Department will receive and upload unofficial results of ballots counted at polling places to the city’s website as they are returned from each precinct. The initial results reported on the website will not include: (i) early voting and mail-in ballots from those specified precincts being centrally tabulated during the day at City Hall; or (ii) mail/absentee ballots that arrive on time on Election Day, but too late to be sent to polling locations to be counted. Mail or absentee ballots that arrive on time at the Election Department, but too late to be sent to polling locations will be counted at City Hall on Election Night, starting after the voting lists from each precinct are returned. Election officials can count a ballot only after it has been confirmed that the voter did not already vote in person at their polling location.

Because poll workers need time to tally election results and transport materials from polling places to City Hall, counting of ballots submitted on time to the Election Department, but too late to be sent to the polls, may not begin until after 10 p.m. These ballots will be tallied by precinct and results will be updated on the city’s website periodically, as precincts are completed. 

Media planning to cover ballot counting and election night results at City Hall are asked to RSVP to the Press Office: press.office@boston.gov. There will be a designated area for media that comes to City Hall on Election Night.

Media guidelines

Members of the media are reminded that certain rules must be followed in order to ensure a smooth voting process for voters: 

  • Interviews of voters are not allowed inside polling locations and must be done at least 150 feet away.
  • Interviews with election officers at the polling locations are not allowed. Interview requests for the Election Department should be directed through the Press Office at (617) 635-4461.
  • Photos and b-roll shots will be allowed under the supervision of each polling location's warden.
  • Photographers are reminded that zooming in on voter ballots and over-the-shoulder shots will not be allowed. Please respect every voter's right to a private ballot.
  • The City of Boston Election Department will also be available for b-roll shots starting at 7:30 a.m.
  • Unofficial results will be posted online at http://www.boston.gov after the polls close at 8:00 p.m.
  • Updates will be provided periodically via our Facebook and Twitter account: @BostonElections
  • Please do not call the Election Department for results. You will only be referred to the website.

For more information about the Municipal Election, please visit boston.gov/elections or contact the Boston Election Department at 617-635-8683 or Election@boston.gov.

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