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City of Cambridge

Absentee Voting

Election Commission

Tips and FAQs

Do I need to be registered to vote to get an Absentee Ballot?

Yes, unless you are a “specially qualified voter” you must be registered to vote to apply for an Absentee Ballot.

A specially qualified voter is a person:

  • who is otherwise eligible to register as a voter and
  • whose present domicile is outside the United States and whose last domicile in the United States was Massachusetts or whose present domicile is Massachusetts and who is:
    (a) absent from the city or town of residence and in the active service of the armed forces or in the merchant marine of the United States or a spouse or dependent of such person;
    (b) absent from the commonwealth; or
    (c) confined in a correctional facility or a jail, except if by reason of felony conviction.

How do I vote absentee by mail?

To vote absentee by mail, you first have to apply for an Absentee Ballot.  You can do this by either filling out the application form below or by sending a signed request to the Election Office that includes:

  • Your name;
  • The address where you are registered to vote;
  • The address where you want the ballot to be sent;
  • The election(s) for which you need an Absentee Ballot.
  • YOUR SIGNATURE

If you are an unenrolled voter seeking to vote in a primary, you must indicate the party ballot that you prefer.

Click here for absentee ballot application  

A family member of a person qualified to vote by Absentee Ballot may apply for that person.

Click here for absentee ballot by a Family Member  

How do I vote absentee in person?

Absentee Ballots are available for over-the-counter voting at the Cambridge Election Office from 20 days before each election, until noon on the day before the election.

What is the deadline for applying to vote absentee?

  • You can apply any time until noon on the day before the election. 
  • If you are going to vote by mail, be sure to apply with enough time to get the ballot and mail it back by Election Day. 
  • If you are going to vote in person, you can go to the Election Office and apply at the same time as you vote. 
  • If you are going to vote absentee in more than one election, you can apply for all elections within a calendar year with one application. 

What is the deadline for mailing back the ballot?

The Election Office must receive your ballot by the close of polls on Election Day.  In a state or federal general election, an Absentee Ballot that has been mailed from outside the United States on or before Election Day must be counted if the Election Office receives it on or before the tenth day after the election.

What is the difference between absentee voting and early voting?

Early voting is a process by which a registered voter can vote before Election Day during a designated period. Voters can vote early by mail or in-person and the ballot will be cast on Election Day. 

Early voting is different from absentee voting and is also only available for biennial state elections, not for primaries, special elections, or local elections. 

Last Updated: 3/5/2017 | Provide feedback on this page

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