FAQs about voting during the pandemic
Q: Is voting by mail being encouraged due to COVID-19?
Q: How does voting by mail work?
A: There are two methods of voting by mail during the COVID-19 situation: (1) Absentee voting or (2) Early voting.
Absentee Voting: To be eligible to vote by absentee ballot in Massachusetts, normally a voter must be prevented from voting at their polling place on Election Day, due to:
- Absence from the voter's city or town on Election Day; or
- Physical disability; or
- Religious belief.
However, due to COVID-19, Chapter 45 of the Acts of 2020 permits any person taking precautions related to COVID-10 in response to a declared State of Emergency also to be eligible to request an absentee ballot. Download an absentee ballot application.
Early Voting: Typically, early voting is not permitted for local elections. However, Chapter 45 of the Acts of 2020 states:
(a) Notwithstanding section 25B of chapter 54 of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary, any eligible voter may vote early by mail for any annual or special municipal or state election held on or before June 30, 2020.
(b) Any qualified voter wanting to early vote by mail may file with their local election official an application for an early voting ballot. Local election officials shall send early voting by mail.
(c) Local election officials may substitute absentee ballots for early voting ballots for those voters requesting to vote early by mail in municipal elections. Download an early voting application.
There will be no early voting locations for the Annual Election.
If you cannot download either application, please mail a hand-written or typed letter--with your signature--to Town Clerk Paul M. Munchbach, 26 Bryant St., Dedham, MA 02026. You may also scan and email your letter to Paul Munchbach.
You cannot call or leave a message to request an application. Each request for an absentee or early voting ballot:
- must be in writing, and
- must be signed by the applicant.
Q: What is the different between Absentee Voting and Early Voting?
A: If one votes by absentee, and later changes their mind once the ballot has been returned, the voter may appear in person on Election Day to vote, as long as the absentee ballot has not yet been cast by the Election Staff. Early voting does not allow this option. Once the early voting ballot has been returned, there are no other chances for the voter to change their mind. Accurate records are kept by the Town Clerk's office on who requests absentee ballots and early voting ballots.
Q: Who is running for office?
A: Download a 2020 Annual Town Election Specimen Ballot.
Q: How soon should I request a ballot?
A: Because of anticipated delays related to COVID-19 restrictions, you should request your ballot as soon as possible if you plan to vote by mail.
Q. What are the deadlines for requesting a ballot by mail and submitting the completed ballot by mail?
A: The "official" deadline to request a ballot by mail is NOON on Friday, June 26. Completed ballots must be received no later than 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 27, Election Day. However, it can take up to three weeks to request a ballot by mail and receive it under normal circumstances, even if all transactions occur within Dedham. With COVID-19 restrictions, this process may be even slower.
Q: I requested an absentee ballot before the April 11 election was rescheduled. Is my application still acceptable for the June 27 election?
A: Yes, any absentee applications applied for the April 11 election with be applied to be used for the June 27 election. If there are any changes to your application please notify the Town Clerk's office immediately.
Q: When are Absentee Ballots counted?
A: Except for ballots which are rejected as defective, all absentee ballots are cast and counted by the poll workers on Election Day. Absentee ballots are included in the final tallies, and are counted whether or not an election contains a close race.
Q: What is the last day to register to vote for the new date of June 27?
A: Wednesday, June 17th. This is for anyone new to town, or you have never registered to vote before.
Q: Does MA have online voter registration?
A: Yes, one can register online at www.registertovotema.com, as long as you have a signature on file with the Registry of Motor Vehicles, which could be a MA driver’s license or a State ID card.
Q: Can teenagers who are 16 or 17 years old register to vote?
A: Yes, but it’s only a pre-registration. By law, you cannot vote until age 18. If one is turning 18 after the last day of voter registration but before the election, is it highly recommended you pre-register. This will allow you to vote on Election Day. This can be done online. You can also download a voter registration form and mail it to Town Clerk Paul M. Munchbach, 26 Bryant St., Dedham, MA 02026. You may also scan and email your completed form to Paul Munchbach. Don't forget to sign and date the form.
Additional questions regarding the upcoming Annual Town Election, scheduled for Saturday, June 27, should be emailed to Town Clerk Paul M, Munchbach.