There’s no need to wait until Tuesday, Nov. 6. Voters around the city can get to the polls early (if not often) this month to fulfill their civic duty in the state and federal elections.
According to Secretary of State Bill Galvin, less than half of the state’s 4.4 million registered voters made it to the polls in the 2014 gubernatorial election. But Galvin thinks the indicators are in place to show improvement this year, particularly given the advent of early voting. In 2016, he noted, more than one million people voted early, accounting for a one-third of the state’s total turnout.
The secretary told the State House News Service last week that 73,000 new people registered online this month alone, including 4,000 last Wednesday morning, the final day to register.
“Four years ago, we did not have a particularly good turnout. In 2014, we had less than 2.2 million voters participate. We are optimistic that this year will be higher,” Galvin said at a press conference as reported by State House News Service.
In Boston, more than 47,000 voters cast their ballots early in 2016— accounting for about 17 percent of the total ballots cast that year. Dion Irish, who heads up the city’s Election Department, told the Reporter last week that he expects that number could rise this year, even though it isn’t a high-turnout presidential year.
“This year we have built on what we learned from 2016, which is that we need to have sites all across the city that are either in or near every neighborhood,” Irish said. “We have bigger sites for this year, so we are hoping to have faster processing and shorter voter wait times.”
In Dorchester and Mattapan, there are several polling locations open this weekend. Saint John Paul II Catholic Academy Neponset Campus, Perkins Community Center / Joseph Lee School, and Mildred Ave. Community Center will welcome voters from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both days. Next week, the Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Community Center at 650 Dudley St. near Uphams Corner will be an early voting site on Thurs., Nov. 1. All Saints Church in Ashmont will be open for voters on Thurs., Oct. 25, from 12-8 p.m.
For voters who work in town, Boston City Hall will be open throughout the next week— until Friday, Nov. 2. The hours will be Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Voters seeking more information can visit Vote Early Boston’s new website, boston.gov/early-voting.
For a preview of what your ballot will look like, go to WhereDoIVoteMA and click on “View My Ballot.”
– Bill Forry