The ability to cast a vote in an election is a fundamental right for United States citizens. It ensures that every voice is heard and the will of the people is upheld. However, many people in the state of Massachusetts have questions about their voting rights and the best way to exercise them. Following are three things that every citizen in Massachusetts should know.
Who Can Vote
Massachusetts has specific rules regarding who is and who is not allowed to vote in an election. The Massachusetts Voters’ Bill of Rights offers the following clarity:
- You must be registered to vote.
- You must be a citizen of the United States.
- In order to vote in a state or local election, you must be a citizen of the state or locality in which you are casting a vote.
- Person’s 16 years of age or older may register (or pre-register) to vote.
- You must not be currently incarcerated for a felony conviction.
- If you are disabled, you are able to vote and the precinct must provide adequate accommodations.
- If you are unable to write, read, or write English, you still have the right to vote.
Registering to Vote
In order to cast a ballot in any election, a citizen must be registered to vote. In the state of Massachusetts, registering to vote does not have to be a complicated process. To ensure that you are able to vote in a particular election, you will need to register a minimum of twenty days prior if it is a regular election or town meeting, and ten days prior if it is a special town meeting. There are different rules if the person registering is a new citizen naturalized after the last day they were to register to vote.
What To Expect On Election Day
When election day arrives, you can expect the following:
- To have privacy and peace from others in the space where you cast your vote.
- To have a minimum of five minutes (if there is a line) or ten minutes (if there is not a line) to cast your vote.
- You may request up to two replacement ballots if you make a mistake on the one you have been given.
- You have the right to request that someone assist you in the process.
- In certain situations you may be asked to provide identification, which may include your state driver’s license, or other printed documents that state your name and address, such as an electric bill, lease, or rent receipt clearly printed in the landlord’s letterhead, or a copy of a voter registration receipt or acknowledgement.
Speak With A Skilled Attorney at Maceolaw, P.C.
If you have questions regarding your rights, or feel that your rights have been violated, contact our firm to speak with an astute attorney that understands federal and Massachusetts law. You may call us at 1-607-208-0505 or contact us via our contact page. We are a firm that is well-versed in criminal defense matters, and we take pride in defending the rights of our clients.