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Tips for a Successful Voting Experience on November 4

October 28, 2014

Elections

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Elections

With the State Election fast approaching, the Boston Election Department offers the following tips to help ease the process for both voters and poll workers alike. Voters with any questions or concerns should contact the Election Department at 617-635-3767 or election@boston.gov.

VOTE AT NON-PEAK HOURS
Lines are always longest in the morning and from 4:00 p.m. until the close of the polls. Hours between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. are the least crowded. 
Polling locations in Boston are open from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., or until the last voter in line at 8:00 p.m. has voted.

BE A PREPARED VOTER 
Because of ballot questions, the ballot for this election in Boston is two sheets -- printing on both sides of sheet one, and an additional full page on sheet two. Voters are encouraged to learn about the four statewide ballot questions before coming to the polls. 
In a small number of precincts, there may also be Public Policy Questions. Voters are allowed to bring a small "cheat sheet" when voting, to serve as a reminder for choices. A link to statewide ballot questions can be found on the City of Boston homepage: www.cityofboston.gov.

DON'T WAIT UNTIL ELECTION DAY TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT ELIGIBILITY OR POLLING LOCATION
The City website (www.boston.gov/elections) has plenty of information to help voters. Residents can find their polling location and check voter status using the Voter Registration Search. The website includes instructions for how and where to vote, and what information to bring to the polls to expedite the process.
Inactive voters will find links to information explaining how to cast a ballot. In most cases, inactive voters can still vote. 
The website also offers information on how to use the AccuVote system. 
For those voters who live outside Boston, the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Elections Division also has a voter registration look-up tool: www.wheredoivotema.com.

WHEN CONTACTING THE ELECTION DEPARTMENT BY EMAIL, PROVIDE COMPLETE INFORMATION
This information includes full name, date of birth, and current and former address, if applicable. Voters cannot be identified by only providing a user name.

VOTERS REQUIRED TO SHOW IDENTIFICATION AT POLLS SHOULD HAVE IT HANDY
For Massachusetts voting purposes, identification must have the voter's name and current address. An out-of-state license does not serve as a stand-alone identification, and must be pair with a bill, lease, pay stub, or similar supplemental documentation. 
Passports do not reflect a local address, and voters using a passport for identification purposes must also provide supplemental documentation. 
Voters who are required to show ID are encouraged to have their identification ready to present at the check-in table.

BE PATIENT
Boston has a team of 1,800 workers on Election Day, dedicated to making the voting experience proceed smoothly. Voters may experience a wait time to vote; voters should plan accordingly. 
There are an additional 100 workers in City Hall making every effort to ensure an efficient and effective voting process.

FIRST-TIME VOTERS ARE WELCOME
This year, Election Department staff registered hundreds of new voters at high schools across the City, as well as hundreds of new citizens. Election officers are there to assist first-time voters, and are happy to answer questions or assist in any manner.

BOSTON CELEBRATES VOTING DIVERSITY
Over 30% of Boston’s election day workers speak at least one language other than English, and many are multi-lingual. All of Boston’s ballots are in English and Spanish, and in some areas, Chinese and Vietnamese. The City also provides access to an interpreters telephone bank, which can assist voters in these languages, as well as Russian, Cape Verdean, Haitian Creole, Somali, and Arabic. Election workers can facilitate access to these translation services.
Boston has also trained Accessibility Ambassadors to guide voters with physical challenges in the use of the Automark. At all locations across the City, the Automark machines will display ballots in English, Chinese, Spanish and Vietnamese. Automark will also provide audio in these languages, including the Cantonese and Mandarin dialects of Chinese, for voters who may need this service.