State ramps up early voting

  • Town of Conway hand crank ballot box.

For The Recorder
Sunday, October 23, 2016

For the first time ever, many Massachusetts residents will have the chance to cast their vote for president prior to Election Day on Nov. 8.

The new statewide early voting program begins today and runs through Nov. 4. Residents may vote at specific polling places in their community, oftentimes the city or town hall, rather than take the traditional route of heading to the polls on Election Day.

This new initiative is distinct from the existing absentee voting system, which requires that residents be physically unable to get to the polls on Nov. 8. Those interested in participating in this early voting system need no excuse.

Information about where and when early voting is available in each community is in the accompanying story and available at the secretary of state’s website (www.sec.state.ma.us) or by contacting city or town clerks’ offices.

About 3 million Massachusetts voters cast ballots in each of the last two presidential elections. This year, voter participation is widely expected to be even higher, according to Secretary of State William Galvin.

Early voting could “relieve some of the lines we anticipate having on Nov. 8,” Galvin said. “We do anticipate a large turnout.”

Communities are required to have at least one voting site open during normal business hours. Many towns, however, are going beyond the law’s requirements and offering additional polling places and extended hours.