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We must protect our health and our civil liberties at the same time, including our fundamental right to vote. Learn about the voting timeline in Massachusetts, learn how to vote by mail, and know your rights.

Voting by mail in the Nov 3 election

  • Who can vote by mail: Every registered voter may vote by mail in this general election (allowance expires December 31, 2020).
  • The voter registration deadline for the general election is October 24. 
  • How to apply to vote by mail: A vote-by-mail application will be sent in September to all voters who have not already applied for a vote-by-mail ballot for the November election. Apply to your local clerk by writing a letter, or submit an application form by mail, fax, or email.
  • Application request deadline: Request must be received by October 28. To meet this deadline, the Secretary of the Commonwealth recommends that voters mail their applications no later than October 20. However, we recommend voters send in their applications much earlier to be sure they have time to receive a ballot and mail it.
  • Ballot return deadline: Mailed ballots must be postmarked no later than Election Day (November 3) and received at the city or town hall by November 6.
  • Dropping off ballots: Mail-in ballots cannot be dropped off at places where people are voting in person on Election Day, but voters who have not yet turned in mail-in ballots are eligible to vote in person at those places on Election Day. And, on Election Day, mail--in ballots may be deposited in your city or town's drop boxes by 8PM, or hand delivered to the local election office (by voters themselves or by third parties) before that office closes and no later than 8PM. Voters may contact their city or town to find out about the locations of any ballot drop boxes & to inquire about the hours of their local election office on Election Day (if you want to drop off in person on Election Day, make sure to check how late your local election office is open, as it map close before 8PM).
  • Voting in person: Voters who request mail-in ballots may still cast their votes in person, either on Election Day or during early voting, as long as they haven't already voted by mail. They can also vote in person if they mail their ballot and it does not reach their election office by Election Day or if their mail-in ballot is rejected for any reason.

Voting tips

  • As states make emergency election changes due to COVID-19, we encourage you to return to this page to get more updated information.
  • Remember to check your voter registration status with your local election officials.
  • To encourage voting by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic, some states are proactively mailing vote-by-mail ballot applications or actual ballots to all registered or active voters. We recommend that all voters request a vote-by-mail ballot to help ensure that one is sent to their current address.
  • Most states have absentee ballot application deadlines. We recommend you make the requests well before the deadline (two weeks before) to ensure enough time to receive, vote, and submit complete ballots.
  • Remember that public health officials recommend that you not lick ballot envelopes, but instead use a wet sponge or cloth to seal them.



  • Find your local clerk to apply to vote by mail.
  • State legislation increasing voting options in response to COVID-19.
  • To learn more about your voting rights generally visit our Know Your Voting Rights page or see the attached document below.
  • If you have problems voting or have additional questions, please call the national, non-partisan Election Protection hotline:
  • English: 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683)
  • Spanish: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-888-839-8682)
  • Arabic: 1-844-YALLA-US (1-844-925-5287)
  • Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, or Vietnamese: 1-888-274-8683



  • The ACLU of Massachusetts filed an amicus in ongoing litigation regarding vote-by-mail in Massachusetts. We urge the Court to encourage the Secretary to revise the language of the vote-by-mail ballot application for the General Election to better inform prospective voters of deadlines and to ensure every registered voter can cast a ballot that will be counted.