Absentee Voting and Vote by Mail
Effective July, 2022, early voting by mail is available for all state elections, state primaries, presidential primaries and local elections. Vote by Mail has also been called “no reason needed” absentee voting. Unlike a true absentee ballot which requires the voter to have a reason to vote absentee, Vote by Mail is available to every voter.
To qualify for an absentee ballot, you must:
- Be away from your city/town on Election Day; or
- Have a disability that keeps you from voting at your polling place; or
- Have a religious belief that prevents you from voting at your polling place on Election Day
Absentee voters use the same ballots (but a different application) as early voters by mail 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 is needed. You should fill out an absentee ballot application if:
- You are a U.S. citizen residing overseas; or
- You are on active military duty; or
- You are currently incarcerated for a reason other than a felony conviction; or
- The deadline for requesting a mailed ballot has passed (i.e. 5 business days prior to the election). Qualifying voters may make an appointment with the Town Clerk to “absentee vote in person” until 12:00 Noon the business day before the election.
- You are requesting an emergency absentee ballot due to hospitalization.
Emergency Absentee Ballots
If you have been admitted to a healthcare facility within 1 week of the election, you may use the absentee ballot application to designate someone of your choice to deliver a ballot to you. The person you designate to deliver your ballot will need to bring the signed application to your local election office, pick up your absentee ballot, bring it to you, and return it for you by the close of polls on Election Day. Emergency ballots may be requested up until the close of polls.
The deadline to submit an Absentee Ballot (by mail) or Vote by Mail ballot application is 5 business days before the election.
The Massachusetts State Elections Division will be mailing Vote by Mail applications at least 45 days before every regular state primary, state election, and presidential primary. The applications will be sent to everyone registered to vote by the 60th day before the election who has not already applied for a ballot. The applications will be pre-addressed to the local election office and postage pre-paid.
Vote by Mail applications will NOT be mailed prior to local elections.
Vote by Mail applications can be found at https://www.sec.state.ma.us/divisions/elections/download/vote-by-mail-applications/vote-by-mail-paper-application-2023.pdf
Absentee Ballot applications can be found at https://www.sec.state.ma.us/divisions/elections/download/absentee-ballot-applications/Absentee-Ballot-Application-English.pdf
Please note that the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s web site is an excellent source for voter information: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/divisions/elections/elections-and-voting.htm
Family members are allowed to request an early Vote by Mail or Absentee ballot on a voter’s behalf. Family members are also permitted to return either ballot type for the voter as well. Applications may be signed electronically, as long as the signature is written in substantially the same manner as a hand-written signature.
The process for Absentee Voting and Voting by Mail is:
- Submit an application for a Vote by Mail or Absentee ballot. Applications are available at the Town Clerk’s office, www.grotonma.gov and at the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/eleabsentee/absidx.htm
2. Complete the form and forward it to the Town Clerk’s office Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , Fax: 978-448-2030, Mail: Town Clerk, 173 Main Street, Groton, MA 01450 or drop box at the rear of Town Hall.
3. A ballot will be mailed to you at the address you indicate.
* Some state elections have different rules for postmarking ballots and return dates.
Signed applications for all elections can be submitted to the Town Clerk’s Office by mail, email, fax or dropbox.
173 Main Street
Groton, MA 01450
Dropbox: Located at the rear of Town Hall, 173 Main Street, Groton, MA 01450