Update on Municipal Election night reporting of unofficial results

As the City of Boston prepares for the General Election on November 2, 2021, the Boston Election Department would like to provide information on what the public can expect on Election Night, regarding tabulation and the Department’s reporting of unofficial election results.

As the City of Boston prepares for the General Election on November 2, 2021, the Boston Election Department would like to provide information on what the public can expect on Election Night, regarding tabulation and the Department’s reporting of unofficial election 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:

  • early voting and mail-in ballots from those specified precincts being centrally tabulated during the day at City Hall, or
  • mail and 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.

Central Tabulation

Precincts with a large number of Early Voting ballots will be processed and counted at City Hall’s central tabulation facility. Like all polling places, the central tabulation facility, which will be located in the Iannella Chamber, is open to public observers. The Election Department will provide public notice of the precincts with early in-person and mail ballots being tabulated at the central tabulation facility.

Vote by Mail

Voters who have not mailed their ballots within one week of Election Day are encouraged to return their ballots through other means, to ensure they will be counted.

Voters may return their ballots in person until 8:00 p.m. on Election Day to:

All ballots must be returned by 8 p.m. on November 2 to be counted.

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. 

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