Election season begins in Massachusetts on Saturday, Oct 17 with early voting hours at state polling places.
This year, voters have more voting options due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can vote early at any early voting location in your community, by mail, or at your polling place on Election Day.
The deadline for mail-in ballots is Oct. 28 — but Whitman Town Clerk Dawn Varley said there was a delay in receiving them from the state.
“I’ve had about 30 emails asking about them, but I didn’t get them until Oct. 9,” Varley said, noting they are now in the process of being mailed to Whitman voters.
Early voting ends Oct. 30, but absentee voters have until noon, Monday, Nov. 2 to vote.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.
When early voting in person at an early voting location for your municipality, the election officials will check you in, similar to the process used on Election Day, according to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office. After voting, you will enclose your ballot into an envelope to be counted on Election Day.
To vote by mail, download the Early Ballot Application and mail it to your local election official.
In-person early voting hours are held in Whitman Town Hall from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday to Sunday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays until Friday, Oct. 30.
In and Hanson Town Hall, early voting takes place from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays and Sundays; 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays; and 8:30 to 11:30 a.m., on Fridays until Oct. 30.
Voters are asked to follow signs directing them through the buildings and remain socially distant.
Hanson Town Clerk Elizabeth Sloan said she expects a lot of Hanson voters to take advantage of early voting, for convenience, among other reasons.
“They feel more comfortable as far as social distancing, instead of having the crowds,” Sloan said. “They’re coming in the front door — we’re probably only going to let four people in at a time — and then they’re going out the side door.”
Varley said early voters in Whitman must enter the Town Hall by the handicapped entrance and exit via the side entrances, but there are no limits to the number of people permitted in the building at once so long as social distancing is maintained.
There will be a poll worker serving as a sort of “hall monitor” to ensure that is the case, Varley said.
Early voting ballots are run through tally machines on Election Day, as are mail-in ballots, according to Sloan.
Vote by mail has already started, and voters who wish to vote that way, but have not yet received an application in the mail, can download a link from their town clerk’s page and return it as soon as possible.
More information can also be obtained by visiting sec.state.ma.us/earlyvotingweb or at iwillvote.com.