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Mail-in voting information for the City of Boston

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Election

If you are a registered voter in Boston, you can vote by mail in the 2021 Municipal Elections.

All registered Boston voters have received a vote-by-mail application in their mailboxes for the Municipal Election on November 2.

The application is in a postcard format. To vote by mail in the Municipal Elections, voters must complete, sign and return the prepaid postcard application to the Boston Election Department by Wednesday, October 27, 2021.

If you never received the application, we have information below about how you can apply.

How to apply

Download

If you want to mail or fax your application, you can download one:

send us your application:

You can scan your signed application and email it back to us at absenteevoter@boston.gov or fax it to us at 617-635-4483. You can also drop off or mail your completed application to:

Elections Department
1 City Hall Square, Room 241
Boston, MA 02201
Office hours: Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

DEADLINE

Applications to request a vote-by-mail ballot must be received by Wednesday, October 27, for the Municipal Election on Tuesday, November 2. If you're planning to vote by mail and you haven't already applied, the Postal Service recommends you apply by Wednesday, October 20, to ensure you receive your ballot in time.

Tracking your ballot

Boston voters can track their ballot requested by mail through the state's website. We will start mailing out ballots by mid-August. We will continue to mail ballots as applications arrive, until the application deadline of October 27, 2021

Complete your ballot

Mail your ballot right away

You can mail the ballot to the address on the envelope. Please submit your completed ballot as soon as possible. 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."

You can track your ballot through the state's website. Make sure to call the Elections Department at 617-635-8683 before Election Day if you haven't seen movement in the tracker.

RETURNing YOUR BALLOT IN PERSON?

If you plan to return your ballot in person instead of mailing it, we have dedicated drop boxes available across the City, including at Boston City Hall. You can find a list of drop box locations below. You have until 8 p.m. on Election Day to drop off your ballot.

When installed, our drop boxes will be monitored by surveillance 24 hours a day, seven days a week leading up until 8 p.m. on Election Day. You can also drop off your ballot at any early voting location during the City's early voting period.

can't drop off your mail-in ballot at your polling location?

If you bring a mail-in ballot to your polling location on Election Day, you will be provided with the opportunity to cast your vote in-person at that polling location. A poll worker will help you to ensure that your mail-in ballot is spoiled before casting the in-person vote.

Early voting map

Map of drop box locations

You can drop your mail-in ballot off at any City of Boston drop box up until 8 p.m. on Election Day, or at any early voting location during the early voting period.
Show Map

List of drop box locations

Drop box list
Date Time Location
Saturday, October 23, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. BCYF Paris Street, 112 Paris Street, East Boston, MA 02128
Saturday, October 23, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. James F Condon Elementary School, 200 D Street, South Boston, MA 02127
Saturday, October 23, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Richard J Murphy School, 1 Worrell Street, Dorchester, MA 02122
Saturday, October 23, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. ABCD Thelma D. Burns Building, 575 Warren Street, Dorchester, MA 02121
Saturday, October 23, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Another Course to College, 612 E Metropolitan Avenue, Hyde Park, MA 02136
Saturday, October 23, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. BCYF Roche, 1716 Centre Street,West Roxbury, MA 02132
Saturday, October 23, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. BCYF Shelburne, 2730 Washington Street, Roxbury, MA 02119
Saturday, October 23, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Central Library in Copley Square, 700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116
Saturday, October 23, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Jackson Mann School, 500 Cambridge Street, Allston, MA 02134
Saturday, October 23, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. BCYF Quincy, 885 Washington Street, Chinatown, MA 02111
Sunday, October 24, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. BCYF Paris Street, 112 Paris Street, East Boston, MA 02128
Sunday, October 24, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. James F Condon Elementary School, 200 D Street, South Boston, MA 02127
Sunday, October 24, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Richard J Murphy School, 1 Worrell Street, Dorchester, MA 02122
Sunday, October 24, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. ABCD Thelma D. Burns Building, 575 Warren Street, Dorchester, MA 02121
Sunday, October 24, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Another Course to College, 612 E Metropolitan Avenue, Hyde Park, MA 02136
Sunday, October 24, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. BCYF Roche, 1716 Centre Street,West Roxbury, MA 02132
Sunday, October 24, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. BCYF Shelburne, 2730 Washington Street, Roxbury, MA 02119
Sunday, October 24, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Central Library in Copley Square, 700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116
Sunday, October 24, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Jackson Mann School, 500 Cambridge Street, Allston, MA 02134
Sunday, October 24, 2021 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. BCYF Quincy, 885 Washington Street, Chinatown, MA 02111
Monday, October 25, 2021 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Boston City Hall, 1 City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. Boston City Hall, 1 City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 12 - 8 p.m. BCYF Tobin, 1481 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02120
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 12 - 8 p.m. Harvard/Kent School, 50 Bunker Hill Street, Charlestown, MA 02129
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 12 - 8 p.m. Margarita Muniz Academy
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 12 - 8 p.m. BCYF Mildred Ave Community Center, 5 Mildred Ave, Mattapan, MA 02126
Wednesday, October 27, 2021 9a.m. - 5 p.m.

Boston City Hall, 1 City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201

Thursday, October 28, 2021 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Boston City Hall, 1 City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201

Thursday, October 28, 2021 12 - 8 p.m. Saint Nectarios Greek Orthodox Church, 39 Belgrade Avenue, Roslindale, MA 02131
Thursday, October 28, 2021 12 - 8 p.m. District Hall, 75 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA 02210
Thursday, October 28, 2021 12 - 8 p.m. BCYF Perkins, 155 Talbot Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02124
Thursday, October 28, 2021 12 - 8 p.m. The Salvation Army Boston Kroc Center, 650 Dudley Street, Dorchester, MA 02125
Friday, October 29, 2021 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Boston City Hall, 1 City Hall Square, Boston, MA 02201
Neighborhood Location Address
Allston Honan-Allston Branch Library

300 North Harvard Street, Allston, MA 02134

Back Bay Boston Public Library - Central Branch

700 Boylston Street, Back Bay, MA 02116

Brighton Brighton Branch Library

40 Academy Hill Rd, Brighton, MA 02135

Charlestown Charlestown Branch Library

179 Main Street, Charlestown, MA 02129

Dorchester Fields Corner Branch Library

1520 Dorchester Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02122

Dorchester Grove Hall Library

41 Geneva Avenue, Dorchester, MA 02121

Dorchester Uphams Corner Branch Library

500 Columbia Rd, Dorchester, MA 02125

Dorchester Adams Street Branch Library

690 Adams St, Dorchester, MA 02122

Dorchester Codman Square Branch Library 690 Washington St, Dorchester, MA 02124
Downtown City Hall - 3rd Floor

1 City Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02201

Downtown City Hall - Congress Street

1 City Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02201

East Boston East Boston Branch Library

365 Bremen Street, East Boston, MA 02128

Hyde Park Hyde Park Branch Library

35 Harvard Avenue, Hyde Park, MA 02136

Jamaica Plain Jamaica Plain Branch Library

30 South Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Mattapan Mattapan Branch Library

1350 Blue Hill Avenue, Mattapan, MA 02126

Roslindale BCYF Roslindale

6 Cummins Hwy, Roslindale, MA 02131

Roxbury Roxbury Branch Library

149 Dudley Street, Roxbury, MA 02119

Roxbury Parker Hill Branch Library

1497 Tremont Street, Roxbury, MA 02120

South Boston South Boston Branch Library

646 East Broadway, South Boston, MA 02127

South End Suffolk County House of Correction 20 Bradston Street, Boston, MA 02118
West End Suffolk County Jail 200 Nashua Street, Boston, MA 02114
West Roxbury West Roxbury Branch Library

1961 Centre Street, West Roxbury, MA 02132

Accessible voting by mail

Boston voters with print or visual impairments may now request, receive, and return an accessible electronic absentee ballot.

The City of Boston has implemented an Accessible Electronic Voting System. This system provides Boston voters an accessible electronic absentee ballot system for the upcoming November 2, 2021, Municipal Election.

The Accessible Electronic Remote Voting System is compatible with screen readers. Voters with print disabilities can now participate in vote-by-mail and absentee voting programs privately and independently. The deadline to request an accessible ballot is Wednesday, October 27.

Request an Accessible ballot

Keep in mind

Absentee Ballots

If you have already applied for an Absentee Ballot, you do not need to fill out an application for a mail-in ballot.

In-person voting

Some voters are concerned that mail-in voting will be their only option for voting in the 2021 Preliminary Municipal Election and the Municipal Election. The Boston Election Department would like to reassure voters that in-person voting will remain an option for all 255 precincts.

Covid-19 Precautions for In-Person Voting

We are in the process of recruiting about 1,800 poll workers to serve on Election Day. All poll workers are required to attend a 2.5-hour training on election laws and procedures. This year's poll worker training will include COVID-19 protocols on social distancing, sanitizing procedures, and the proper use of personal protective equipment.

Early Voting

For convenience and to reduce crowding, early voting will be available in the City of Boston:

  • Municipal Election: Saturday, October 23, through Friday, October 29.

Early voting information

Common questions

Questions
Can I vote by mail?

Yes, every registered voter is eligible to vote by mail this year.

What if I am not registered?

You need to be a registered voter to vote by mail. The deadline to register to vote in the Municipal Election is Wednesday, October 13, 2021. You can register online, by mail, or in person at Boston City Hall.

Can I register to vote and apply for my ballot at the same time?

Yes. As long as your registration form is received or postmarked 20 days before the election, your application can be submitted with your registration form. For the Municipal Election, that date is Wednesday, October 13, 2021.

What if I'm not sure where I'm registered?

Before you fill out your mail-in ballot application, use the state's website to confirm that you're registered at your current address.

What if I'm still registered at an old address?

If the voter registration deadline hasn't passed yet, you should register to vote at your current address. If there isn't time to update your address, you should apply using your old address where you are registered to vote if:

  • you have moved within the same city or town where you are registered, OR
  • you have moved to a new city or town in Massachusetts within six months of the election.

When you apply by mailing a paper application, emailing your application to absentee@boston.gov (be sure to sign), or bringing your application to City Hall Room 241, you can request that your ballot be sent to your new address.

How do I vote by mail?

If you are a registered Boston voter, submit a 2021 vote-by-mail application by mail, email, fax, to the Boston Election Department:

Election Department
1 City Hall Square, Room 241
Boston, MA 02201
Email: absenteevoter@boston.gov
Fax: 617-635-4483

How soon do I need to apply for my ballot?

You should apply as soon as possible. We need to receive your application at least four business days before Election Day. Remember that it can take up to a week for the mail to be delivered in one direction, so it's best to try to apply at least two to three weeks before the election.

What if I can't print the Vote-by-Mail Application?

Any written request is acceptable, as long as it is signed. You can write a letter to our office that says you want a ballot:

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

Make sure to include your name, address, and where to mail your ballot.

Where do I send my application?

If you are a registered Boston voter, send your application to our office:

Election Department
1 City Hall Square, Room 241
Boston, MA 02201
Email: absenteevoter@boston.gov
Fax: 617-635-4483

Can I email my application?

Yes, but the application needs to be signed. You can either:

  1. sign your application by hand and email an image of your application to our office, or
  2. sign your name using a mouse, stylus, or finger and then send that saved application to our office.

Typed signatures are not acceptable.

Can I fax my application?

Yes. If you have access to a fax machine, you can fax your application to our office at 617-635-4483.

Can I sign my application digitally?

Yes, but your signature has to be similar to your hand-written signature. You can sign your name on a computer or phone using a mouse, finger, or stylus. Typed signatures are not acceptable.

How do I know if my application was received?

You can use the state's website to track your mail-in ballot. If your application is marked as "Pending," that means your application has been received and your ballot will be mailed out as soon as it is ready. If the website can't find a record for you, that may mean that your application hasn't been received yet. You should call us at 617-635-8683.

Do you need an accessible ballot?

A voter with a disability may request an accessible mail-in ballot. This request must be submitted to the accessible vote-by-mail coordinator in the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office at 1-800-462-VOTE/TTY: 1-800-720-3480 from 8:45 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Where is my ballot?

You can use the state's website to track your mail-in ballot. If the ballot has already been mailed, you will be able see the date it was mailed. If the website can't find a record for you, that may mean that your application hasn't been received yet and you should call us at 617-635-8683.

If I vote by mail, can I change my mind and vote in person?

It depends. If you mailed your early ballot back and it was accepted by our office, then your ballot is considered to be cast and you can't vote again. If your ballot never reached our office — or if it was rejected for some reason — then you can vote in person.

What if I need assistance in voting?

If you need assistance voting because you have a physical disability or you have difficulty reading your ballot, you can ask any other person to assist you in marking your ballot in your presence.

If you cannot sign your name on the ballot envelope, the person assisting you should sign your name in the space provided for the voter's signature. They should then provide their own information in the space provided for the assisting person. If you need an accommodation because of a physical disability, you may apply to the state's Elections Division.

Can someone else fill out my ballot for me if I am not home?

No. Only you can fill out your ballot and sign your ballot envelope, unless you are unable to do so because of physical disability or inability to read your ballot. All help must be provided in your presence. You can, however, have a ballot mailed to you wherever you are.

If I apply for a Vote-by-Mail ballot, does that mean I can't vote in person?

No. You can vote in person as long as you haven't already voted by mail. If you choose not to return your mail-in ballot, you can vote in person on Election Day or during early voting. You can also vote in person if you mail your ballot and it does not reach your election office by Election Day, or if your mail-in ballot is rejected for any reason.

If you don't feel comfortable mailing your ballot, we will have drop boxes located across the City that will be available until 8 p.m. on Election Day. You can also drop off your ballot at any early voting location during the early voting period.

Do I need to send ID with my ballot?

Maybe. First-time voters in Massachusetts are sometimes required by federal law to present ID showing their name and the address where they registered to vote. If you are required to show ID, we will send you a notice with your ballot. Make sure you send a copy of your ID on the outside of your ballot envelope, because the ballot envelope can't be opened until it is time to count the ballots.

How can I return my ballot?

You can return you ballot by mail or in person. If you are mailing your ballot, use the return envelope that was provided with the ballot, which is pre-addressed for your convenience. If you don't want to mail your ballot, you can drop if off at any of the drop boxes located across the City of Boston through 8 p.m. on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, as well as at an early voting location during the early voting period. You may also return your ballot to City Hall, during regular working hours Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Our drop boxes will be monitored by surveillance 24 hours a day, seven days a week leading up until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

When do I need to return my ballot?

For the Municipal Election, if you're mailing your ballot, it needs to reach us by November 2, 2021. If you're hand-delivering your Municipal Election ballot to us or dropping it in a drop box, it needs to be returned by 8 p.m. on November 2.

Can I track my ballot?

Yes, you can track your ballot on the state's website. This page will show you:

  • if your application has been received
  • the date your ballot is mailed
  • the date your ballot is received at your local election office, and
  • whether your ballot is accepted or rejected.
Will my ballot be counted if it arrives after Election Day?

No, your ballot will not be counted if it arrives after the November 2, 2021, Municipal Election date. For the Municipal Election, all ballots must arrive by November 2, 2021. If you think your ballot may not arrive in time to be counted, consider returning it by hand-delivery or voting in person.

How do I know my ballot was counted?

Your ballot will be counted in a public space, either at your polling place or at a central tabulation facility in Boston. You can use the state's website to confirm your ballot was accepted.

Why was my ballot rejected?

If your ballot was rejected, it is most likely because you did not sign the affidavit on your ballot envelope. The Boston Election Department will notify you if your ballot is rejected and the reason it was rejected.

If there is enough time left before the election, you will also be sent a new ballot. You will also have the option of voting in person until 8 p.m. on Election Day.

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