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Voting tips from elections department

Boston's Elections Department just sent out an email with some tips on voting. There will be 1,700 poll workers tomorrow in Boston's 254 precincts and 157 polling locations, with over 400 workers fluent in a second language. Full email below:

In anticipation of heavy voter turnout for the November 2 State Election, the Boston Election Department offers the following tips to make the voting experience flow more easily for both new, and longtime, voters.

Polls in Boston open at 7AM and close at 8PM. First thing in the morning, and after 4PM are the busiest times at polls across the City. If you can cast your vote mid-day, the process will be much faster.

Know your voting location and voter status before you go to the polls. Voting in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the City of Boston, is address-based. Both the Boston Election Department and the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s websites offer links to finding your polling location and your status. Boston’s website is www.cityofboston.gov/elections and the statewide website is www.wheredoivotema.com. Your vote will only count if it is cast at the precinct in which you are registered.

In most cases, inactive voters can vote. If your voter status shows that you are inactive, visit the Boston Election Department website: there are three links that provide information for Inactive voters, depending on whether the voter still resides at his address of registration, has moved within the City, or has moved to another city or town in the Commonwealth. Click on the link that best describes your situation for instructions on how to vote in this election.

Be familiar with the ballot and your ballot choices before you go to the polls. The ballot in Massachusetts is extremely long this year. The Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website offers a very useful link: once you visit www.wheredoivote.com and click on ‘my election information’, a yellow highlighted field will appear. Clicking on the highlighted area, you will be able to view all races and questions which will appear on your ballot in an easy-to-read format. Boston alone has 39 different ballots due to overlapping Congressional, Legislative, and Governor’s Council districts. Bringing an index card or a brief note to the polls with your ballot choices will make the experience easier. Make sure to take your "cheat sheet" with you when you leave the voting area.

Remember to vote the reverse side of your ballot. In order to fit all candidates and ballot questions on one card, the layout requires the use of both sides of the ballot:

Ballot Question One is in column three on the front of the ballot;
Ballot Question Two begins in column three on the front of the ballot, and continues onto the reverse side. Ballot Question Three is on the reverse side of the ballot.

Remember to Bring Appropriate Identification. If you need to show identification at the polls, remember: your identification must have your current address on it. Out of State drivers’ licenses and passports may show who you are: they do not show where you live. Please bring a bill, paystub, lease agreement, or other official document that shows your name and address. If you have any questions about your voter status which you can’t resolve by viewing the website, please call the Election Department: 617-635-3767.

Ask for Help. In the City of Boston, we have election officers who speak a variety of language and others who have been trained to assist voters with disabilities. If you are an eighteen year old voting for the first time, or a first-time Massachusetts voter, we want to help you understand the process. If you are not showing on the voting list at your polling location, make sure that the Warden calls City Hall to confirm your correct polling location. Remember that voting is address-based in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, so you must vote at the precinct where you are registered. The only time an election officer should refer you to another polling location is if they have confirmed you are registered elsewhere. When in doubt, you may be offered, or request, a provisional ballot!

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