Recently several hundred voters came to the Condon Community School, where the Boston Election Department was set up for early voting to accept both in-person voters and voters bringing their mail-in ballots to a drop box at the entrance. In addition, there were other early voting locations at public facilities in Dorchester and Hyde Park.
During the week, other facilities are open, as well as Boston City Hall. Those who received ballots in the mail could either drop them off; or put them in the mail by August 26th; or in fact could vote in lieu of submitting their mail-in ballot. If you decided to vote in person to ensure that your vote would be counted, you can do that. If you do, the system has a notation beside your name, indicating that you are in possession of a mail-in ballot. You will then be asked to sign an affidavit that you will not vote a second time.
The process seemed efficient. The real problem is in the mail itself. Reports were made of deceased family members receiving ballot requests. Others, who mailed their ballot request form for a mail-in ballot, upon contacting both the Commonwealth’s Secretary of State and the Boston Election Department, discovered that their request for a mail-in ballot has not even been received three weeks after being mailed. So, there are many factors, not the least of which would be efforts by those who wish to disrupt the system, for some votes not to be counted, due to the system itself.
In an attempt accommodate this new approach to voting the Secretary of State William Galvin allowed the placing of over 200 ballot drop boxes in Massachusetts — a list expected to grow — that mail-in voters can use as an alternative to US Postal Service. “With the deadline to return State Primary ballots quickly approaching, many voters are looking to return their ballots in person, rather than drop them in a mailbox,” Galvin said. “Voters may return their ballots to a secure drop box provided by their municipality, to their local election office, or to any early voting site during early voting hours.”
Galvin has published a list of ballot drop box locations on his website amid growing demand for ballot return options. The list currently includes the locations of secured municipal drop boxes and will continue to be updated as more communities obtain drop boxes and notify Galvin’s office, Galvin said in a statement.
Voters may visit Galvin’s website at sec.state.ma.us/ele and click “Find My Election Office/Drop Box” to find the best place to return their ballots. Early voting locations and schedules may be found at www.MassEarlyVote.com for those wishing to drop their ballots off at an early voting location near their home. State Primary ballots are due no later than 8 p.m. on Sept. 1 in order to be counted — a deadline some lawmakers are trying to extend amid widespread slowdowns at the United States Postal Service. The postmarked date has to be no later than August 26, which the last day to mail in. That date has passed as of this publication. But, as stated above, you can either drop your ballot in a drop box at a location; or vote at Boston City Hall; or vote in person on September 1st at polling locations that will be open in your neighborhood.
The state’s highest court held a hearing this past Monday on a lawsuit filed by 4th Congressional District candidate Becky Grossman that seeks to extend the counting period for mailed-in state primary ballots by 10 days, as long as ballots are postmarked by Sept. 1. The Disabled American Veterans Department of Massachusetts, concerned about the processing of UOCAVA (Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act) voters and the US Attorney’s office have both filed briefs opposing and administrative change to the ballot process which has deadlines governed by federal law. A spokeswoman for Secretary Galvin stated, “The secretary needs to allow time for recounts, objections and other safeguards before we can know for sure who was nominated at the primary, and the secretary can move to doing what needs to be done to have an orderly election in November,”
As of the day of this publication there was no decision made.