Absentee Voting Requirements

Absentee Voting

In most elections in Massachusetts, voters can choose whether they would prefer to vote in person or by mail.

Excuse-required absentee voting by mail is available in all elections, to those who qualify. While early Vote by Mail ballots are more common, there are special circumstances where you may need to use the Absentee Ballot application to apply for an absentee ballot instead.

Absentee Ballots

You can vote by absentee ballot if:

  • You will be away from your city or town on Election Day
  • You have a religious belief that prevents you from voting at your polling location on Election Day
  • You have a disability that prevents you from voting at your polling location

Absentee voters use the same ballots as early Vote by Mail voters and have the same deadlines for returning their ballots. Most voters who qualify for an absentee ballot can choose instead to apply for an early Vote by Mail ballot. There are some times that an absentee ballot application is needed.

You should fill out an absentee ballot application if:

  • You qualify for an absentee ballot and you are voting in a local election in a city or town that has opted out of Vote by Mail for that election
  • You are on active military duty
  • You are a U.S. citizen living outside the U.S.
  • You will be away from your city or town on Election Day
  • You are requesting an emergency absentee ballot due to hospitalization
  • You are currently incarcerated for a reason other than a felony conviction

To request your absentee ballot, you will need to submit a absentee application to your local election office:

  • By email
  • By mail
  • By fax

Absentee applications can be downloaded or printed here. Further, any written request with your signature is an acceptable application. You can simply write a signed letter to your local election office to apply for your ballot.

Applications can be submitted by mail, email, or fax, but they must include a signature that can be compared to your hand-written signature. Electronic signatures, scanned applications, and photos of applications are acceptable.

Typed signatures on applications cannot be accepted, unless you are a voter who requires accommodations due to physical disability. If you are unable to sign your application or mark your ballot by hand due to a disability, visit our page about voting with disabilities for information on requesting an accommodation.