Voting in the 2020 Elections

In order to provide increased voting options in response to COVID-19, early voting is available to all voters for the State Primary, September 1st and the State/Presidential Election, November 3rd. Early voting is available by mail and in person to all registered voters and no excuse is required.

Jump to: Vote by Mail | Early Voting in Person | Voting on Election Day Voter Registration


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Voting by mail is available to all voters for all elections in 2020. You do not need an excuse to vote by mail this year.

To vote by mail, all you need to do is:

1. Complete a vote by mail application

  • You can use one application to request ballots for the primary, the general election, or both!
  • If you are independent and you are voting in the primary, make sure to check off which party ballot you would like. Choosing a party ballot does not register you in the party.
  • Make sure the application is signed. You may sign by hand, or electronically by mouse, stylus, or finger. Typed names are not acceptable signatures.

2. Deliver your Application to the Cambridge Election Commission by email, mail or fax

  • Email:
  • Mail: Cambridge Election Commission, 51 Inman Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
  • Fax: 617-349-4366

The application must arrive by August 26th to vote by mail in the September 1st State Primary

The application must arrive by October 28th to vote by mail in the November 3rd State/Presidential Election

3. Vote when your ballot arrives

  • Ballots for the September 1st State Primary will be mailed beginning in early August
  • Ballots for the November 3rd State/Presidential election will be mailed beginning in early October

4. Return your ballot to the Cambridge Election Commission by 8 pm on Election Day

  • Mail: the envelopes will be addressed and postage is provided!
  • In-person/Drop-Box: The Election Commission has a ballot drop box at 51 Inman Street that is available daily from 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.  Any City of Cambridge voter wanting to hand deliver their ballot may use the drop box to do so.  
  • At a designated Early Voting location during early voting hours (see below)

For the primary, all ballots must arrive at the Cambridge Election Commission office by Tuesday, September 1st at 8 pm

For the general election, ballots sent by mail must be postmarked by Tuesday, November 3rd and must arrive at the Cambridge Election Commission office by Friday, November 6th at 5 pm. Ballots delivered by hand or by dropbox must be delivered by 8 pm on Tuesday, November 3rd.

Early Voting in Person 

Early Voting Locations, Hours and Days for the State Primary

  • Moses Youth Center – 243 Harvard Street, Main Entrance
  • Cambridge Water Department - 250 Fresh Pond Parkway
  • Valente Library – 826 Cambridge Street, Side Entrance on Berkshire Street

The Election Commission office located 51 Inman Street will NOT be an early voting location for the State Primary, September 1st and State/Presidential Election, November 3rd. Voters must go to one of the designated early voting locations listed above.

Saturday, August 22nd 2pm - 8pm
Sunday, August 23rd 9am - 3pm
Monday, August 24th 9:30am - 5pm
Tuesday, August 25th 9:30am - 5pm
Wednesday, August 26th 9:30am - 5pm
Thursday, August 27th 9:30am - 5pm
Friday, August 28th 9:30am - 5pm

The in-person Early Voting Period for the November 3rd State/Presidential Election is Saturday, October 17th through Friday, October 30th. Hours and locations will be designated by October 2nd and published by October 9th. 

Voting in Person on Election Day

Voting on Election Day will still be available for those who may want to vote at the polls. Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Election Day. You must vote at your assigned polling location. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some polling sites like those in high-risk facilities were temporarily relocated for the upcoming 2020 State Primary, September 1st.

Find Your Polling Place

View Interactive Polling Place Map

Download Polling Place PDF

Your temporary location will be in the same ward and precinct or near your regular polling place to provide voter convenience and to minimize voter confusion.Voters will receive an Early Voting Guide and a Voter Notification Card. Both will have information pertaining to any relocated polling places and other important election related information. Signage will also be posted to help voters find their temporary polling sites.

Voters should wear a face mask or covering in the early voting locations and on Election Day at the polling sites and adhere to social distancing requirements to help mitigate public health risks. In addition, hand sanitizer will be available for use by voters upon entering and exiting the voting area. We encourage all our citizens to exercise their right to and take advantage of the voting options available.

Voter Registration

Find your registration status

Voter Registration

To be eligible to vote in the State Primary, September 1st, you must register to vote or make any necessary changes to your voter registration by the deadline of Saturday, August 22nd at 8 p.m. The deadline for the State/Presidential Election on November 3rd is Saturday, October 24th at 8 p.m.

Registering 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. Voter registration forms submitted online must be submitted by midnight on the date of the voter registration deadline.

Registering by mail:

If you do not qualify to register to vote online, or if you would prefer to register by mail, you may download the voter registration form from the Secretary of State's Website at

Fill the form out completely and sign at the bottom; otherwise it will be rejected and sent back to the applicant.

Mail (DO NOT FAX OR EMAIL) the Voter Registration form to:

Cambridge Election Commission
51 Inman Street, 1st floor
Cambridge, MA 02139

Registering in person:

If you would like to register in-person, you may do so by making an appointment at the Election Commission office at 51 Inman Street.

Tips and FAQs

Who can I contact if I need help or have questions?

You can contact the Cambridge Election Commission by phone or email:

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 because you do not need an excuse or reason to vote early!  It is not available for all elections so please check our early voting site for information about upcoming elections.

Who can vote by absentee Ballot?

You can vote by absentee Ballot if any of the following applies:

  • You will be absent from Cambridge on election day during polling hours;
  • You have a physical disability that prevents you from voting at the polling place;
  • You cannot vote at the polls due to religious belief. 

Any voter taking precautions relating to COVID-19 shall be deemed to qualify for an absentee ballot by reason of disability for any election held on or before December 31, 2020.

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.

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

A family member of a person qualified to vote by Absentee Ballot may apply for that person.  In addition to the above information, family members must also include their name and relationship to the voter.

Click here for absentee ballot application  

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.

What is the deadline for applying to vote absentee?

By Mail:

  • You can apply any time within the calendar year until 5 pm on the 4th business day before the election. 
  • Make sure to apply with enough time to get the ballot and mail it back by Election day
  • 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

Over-the-Counter at the Election Commission Office:

  • You can apply any time until noon on the day before the election. If the day before the election is a holiday, the deadline is 5 p.m. on the last business day that the office is open. 
  • You can go to the Election Commission office and apply at the same time as you vote. 
  • If you go to the Election Commission during the Early Voting Period, you will be able to vote early without requiring an absentee 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 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.

How do I vote absentee in person?

Absentee Ballots are available for over-the-counter voting at the Cambridge Election Office at least twenty days before each election. Please call the Election Commission Office at 617-349-4361 to find out if Absentee Ballots are available. 

What voting accommodations are available for people with disabilities?

If you are permanently disabled, you may apply to vote from home.  Send a letter to the Election Office from your doctor, stating that you are permanently unable to cast your ballot at the polling place due to a physical disability. The Election Office will automatically mail you an application for an Absentee Ballot for all elections in a calendar year. You must sign the application and send it back.

What voting accommodations are available for people in hospitals/healthcare facilities?

A person who has been admitted to a hospital or other health care facility after twelve o'clock noon of the 7th day before a primary/election can request an absentee ballot up until the close of polls on Election Day. The ballot can be delivered by an election official or the voter can designate a person to deliver the ballot in person and then return it to the Election Commission. 

How do I become an election worker?

The City of Cambridge Board of Election Commissioners is seeking applications to work at polling locations throughout the City. 

Election Workers must:

  • Be registered to vote in Massachusetts;
  • Be available to work Election Day from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.;
  • Be able to read and write English and speak clearly. Dedication, efficiency, patience and friendliness are assets.


Election Workers will receive:
  • Compensation at an hourly rate depending on the position assigned on Election Day;
  • Paid Training;
  • The opportunity to assist the citizens of Cambridge with a positive voting experience.


To apply:

Fill out the Election Worker Application and return it to the Cambridge Election Commission:

  • By email:
  • In person or by mail: Cambridge Election Commission, 51 Inman Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
  • By fax: 617-349-4366


Election Worker Position Descriptions


The Warden is the Chief Election Officer at the polling place with responsibility for supervising and monitoring the work of the other election officers. The Warden maintains order, prevents interference with the voting process, insures that all required materials are available, assists voters, and oversees the accurate completion of all election forms.


The Clerk keeps a record of all facts relating to the election proceedings and notes any unusual happenings during the conduct of the election. The Clerk assumes the responsibilities of the Warden in the Warden’s absence.


Inspectors perform election duties under the direction of the Warden/Clerk, including but not limited to, checking voters’ names at the Check-In and Check-Out Tables and handing ballots to voters.
Page was posted on 3/18/2020 6:52 PM
Page was last modified on 8/31/2020 12:06 PM
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