Voter Registration FAQ
Answers to frequently asked questions about registering to vote in the City of Cambridge including name, address and party changes, registration deadlines and locations, and polling locations.
Who may register to vote in Cambridge?
You may register to vote in Cambridge if you are a US citizen, a resident of Cambridge, and will be at least 18 years old on or before Election Day.
Can I register for a friend, family member, or another individual?
No, this is prohibited under state law.
Where do I register?
The following options are available to register to vote. You can register:
Online - In order to register to vote online, you must have a signature on file with the Registry of Motor Vehicles. If you currently have a Massachusetts driver's license or state ID card, you may use the online voter registration application to register, update your address, or change your party affiliation.
In Person - At the Election Commission Office during regular and special office hours.
By Mail-in Registration Form - Forms are available at the Election Office, local libraries, branches of the Post Office, Cambridge Hospital and the neighborhood health clinics, public housing locations, and many other city locations. You can also download the form from the Secretary of State's office website at http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/eleifv/howreg.htm.
Fill the form out completely and sign it at the bottom. Mail the form to the Election Commission at 51 Inman Street, Cambridge, MA 02139.
To have a Registration form mailed to you, call 1-800-462-vote or 617-727-2828.
Can I register if I am homeless?
Homeless persons can use a shelter address or their prior address in Cambridge if that was the last place of residency. You can also vote from a location by using the diagram on the registration form.
Is identification required to register to vote?
When you register, you must include your driver’s license number or the last 4 digits of your social security number on the application. If the information cannot be verified or you do not provide this information, your must provide identification at your polling location when you go to vote. Sufficient identification includes a copy of current and valid photo identification, current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document showing your name and address.
How do I change my political party?
Send correspondence stating it is "signed under the penalty of perjury" to the Election office with your request to change party affiliation, including what you would like your new affiliation to be. Voters who wish to change their party status may also use mail-in registration forms.
How do I change my address for voting?
If you are moving to another city or town, you must re-register to vote in your new city or town to remain a voter. If you are moving within the City of Cambridge, send signed correspondence to the Commission stating your new address along with your former address. Mail-in registration forms may also be used to inform the Commission of the new address.
How do I change my name for voting?
Send signed correspondence to the Election office informing the Commission of the name change. Be sure to include both your former name and new name. Mail-in registration forms can also be used to inform the Commission of a name change.
When is the Election Commission office open to the public?
We are normally open on the following hours: Mondays 8:30am –8:00pm, Tuesdays through Thursdays 8:30am – 5:00pm, and Fridays 8:30am to 12:00 noon. We are closed on holidays recognized by the City. We are open on certain special days and certain special hours to accommodate voter registration deadlines and absentee voting. These special hours will be posted on the home page of the Election Commission website.
When am I registered to vote?
You are registered to vote on the day you register in person at an official designated office or the postmark date on a mail in registration form. You must register by 20 days before an election to vote in that election. You should receive an acknowledgement notice within two to three weeks after you register. If you do not receive your acknowledgement notice, contact the Election Commission.
How may I verify that I am registered?
You may contact the Election Commission at (617) 349-4361 or Elections2@cambridgema.gov
. If you are emailing to ask if you are registered, please include your name and address.
What is my ward and precinct?
The ward and precinct determines where residents vote and in which elective district citizens reside. When you register to vote, the acknowledgement notice you receive includes your ward, precinct, and polling location. The staff can also provide information about elective districts, your current elected officials, and names of candidates in election seasons. You can look up your Ward and Precinct at http://www.wheredoivotema.com
When can I register?
Eligible persons can register at any time during the Election Office’s hours of operation or when outside sessions are conducted. Registration by mail can be done at any time.
Is there a deadline to register?
One may register to vote at any time. However, the deadline to register for any given election is twenty days prior to that election.
What is my polling location?
How do I stay on the voting list?
Answering the city census each year ensures that your name will remain on the voting list once you have registered. If you move within the city, inform the Election Commission in writing about your change of address (see “How do I change my address for voting?”). If you were previously registered in another city or town, re-registration from the new address is necessary. You may also inform the Commission if your name changes and you wish to change it for the voting list. Massachusetts state law does not require that you vote in order to keep your name on the voting list.
How can I get a letter verifying that I am a registered voter?
Voter registration letters or cards are not necessary for voting purposes. However, you may go to the Election Commission office and make a request for a letter verifying that you are a registered voter. A $2.00 fee is charged for issuing a voter registration letter. You may also mail a request along with a check for $2 + postage, made payable to the City of Cambridge.
How can my group or organization request voter registration forms in bulk?
Call the Elections Division at 1-800-462-VOTE or 617-727-2828