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FAQ on 2020 Primary Elections in Massachusetts & Connecticut

At Vinfen, we work to ensure that our staff, the people we serve, and our friends and neighbors have every opportunity to make their voices heard about the issues they care about. Voting is an important way to achieve that goal. 

This year, we are compiling FAQs on the elections to provide information and support during this important election year. The following is a living document, which will be updated as new information becomes available. 

These FAQs are specific to upcoming elections in Massachusetts and Connecticut, as these are the states in which Vinfen provides services. If you are seeking election information about other states, we recommend visiting www.rockthevote.org/how-to-vote/ or your state’s Secretary of State website. 

If you have questions or suggestions for this FAQ, please contact Alex Yellin at yellina@vinfen.org.  

 

The Massachusetts 2020 Primary Election 

When is Massachusetts’ 2020 Primary? 

The Massachusetts State Primary will be held on Tuesday, September 1, 2020. 

Who is eligible to vote in Massachusetts? 

You may submit an application to register or pre-register to vote in Massachusetts if: 

  • You are a citizen of the United States; and 
  • You are 16 years old; and 
  • You are not currently incarcerated by reason of a felony conviction. 

You may vote in an election in Massachusetts if you are a resident of Massachusetts, a citizen of the United States, at least 18 years old, and not currently incarcerated for a felony. 

Massachusetts has a semi-closed primary election. What does this mean? 

A semi-closed primary means that if you are registered with a party, you must vote in that party’s primary. If you are registered as an independent, you may choose which party’s primary you wish to vote in. If you would like to check which party you are registered with, check your voter registration on the Secretary of State’s website here. 

What offices are on the ballot on September 1? 

The Massachusetts primary elections on September 1 determine party candidates for all state House and Senate races, all Congressional seats, a Senate seat, and numerous county offices. You can find a list of candidates running in the primary here. 

How do I know if I am registered to vote in Massachusetts? 

To check if you are registered to vote, visit https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ovr/ and click “Check Registration Information.” 

How do I register to vote in the September 1 primary? 

You can register to vote online, by mail, or in person. 

To register online, visit https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ovr/ and click “Register or Pre-Register to Vote.” On this site, you may also update your address (which you will need to do if you have moved since the previous election) and register with or change your party affiliation. 

If you cannot register online, you may still register without leaving your home by sending a mail-in voter registration form to your local election office 

If you need to register to vote in person, contact your local election official about their ability. 

What are the voter registration deadlines? 

You must register to vote by Saturday, August 22, 2020. 

Remember, Massachusetts does not have same-day voter registration. You must register by the voter registration deadline of August 22 to vote in the September 1 primary. 

How do I vote in the September 1 primary? 

You may vote in person on September 1 or vote by mail. To vote by mail, you must request, complete, and submit an absentee ballot. 

Where and when do I vote? 

Polls in Massachusetts are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, September 1, 2020. If you wish to vote in person, you may find your poll site hereYou can also vote early from Saturday, August 22 to Friday, August 28. You may also vote by mail, with an Absentee Ballot. 

When can I vote early for the September 1 primary? 

Early voting will be available from Saturday, August 22 through Friday, August 28. Early voting schedules and locations will be posted at www.MassEarlyVote.com by August 15, 2020. 

Can I vote by mail in the September 1 primary? 

Yes! All registered voters in Massachusetts can vote by mail in any 2020 election, with no excuse needed. A 2020 Vote by Mail Application was mailed to all registered voters shortly after July 15.  

What is the process for voting by mail? 

  • You will receive your absentee ballot in the mail.  
  • Fill out your absentee ballot in its entirety. 
  • You can return you ballot by mail or in person.  
  • If you are mailing your ballot, use the return envelope that was provided with the ballot, which is pre-addressed and pre-stamped for your convenience.  
  • If you are hand-delivering your ballot, you can drop it off at your local election office or in an official ballot return drop-box. Contact your local election office for the location of their secure drop-box. 

How do I request an absentee ballot? 

Fill out a 2020 Vote by Mail Application. Send the signed application to your local election office. You will then be mailed a ballot to vote and return. It is strongly recommended to fill out and return your application as soon as possible so that you will receive your ballot in time. 

If you can’t print the application, any written request is acceptable, if it is signed. You can write a letter to your local election office that says you want a ballot. Make sure to include your name, address, and where to mail your ballot. If you would like a State Primary ballot and you are not registered in a political party, make sure to include the party ballot you are requesting as well. 

You can also request an application by calling 1-800-462-8683 or emailing elections@sec.state.ma.us. 

Is there a deadline for requesting an absentee ballot? 

Yes! Applications for absentee ballots must be received by Wednesday, August 26th at 5:00 p.m. 

Can I email my absentee ballot application? 

Yes, but the application needs to be signed. You can either sign your application by hand and email an image of your application to your local election office or sign your name using a mouse, stylus, or finger and then send that saved application to your local election office. Typed signatures are not acceptable. 

Can I fax my absentee ballot application? 

Yes, if you have access to a fax machine, you may fax your application to your local election office. 

How do I know if my absentee ballot application was received? 

You can use the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s website to track your mail-in ballot. If your application is marked as “Pending,” that means your application has been received and your ballot will be mailed out as soon as it is ready.  

If the website can’t find a record for you, that may mean that your application hasn’t been received yet and you should call your local election office. 

I have a different question about Absentee Ballots. 

The Massachusetts Secretary of State’s Office has a page on Absentee Voting that may answer your question. 

Do voters with disabilities have special rights? 

Yes! Important federal and state laws exist to protect people with disabilities’ fundamental right to vote and prohibit discrimination. For more information, visit the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s website. 

 

The Connecticut 2020 Primary Election 

When is Connecticut’s 2020 Primary? 

Connecticut’s 2020 Primary is Tuesday, August 11, 2020.  

Who is eligible to vote in Connecticut? 

  • Are you at least 17 and turning 18 before Election Day? 
  • Are you a United States citizen living in Connecticut?
  • If you have been convicted of a felony, have you completed confinement and parole? 

If you can answer yes to all three of these questions, you are eligible to register to vote in Connecticut. 

Connecticut has a closed primary election. What does this mean? 

You must be registered with a political party to vote in that party’s primary. The deadline to register with a party is Thursday, August 6, and can be completed online or by mail. There is a three-month waiting period to switch party affiliation. 

Unaffiliated voters are not eligible to vote in party primaries but can enroll with either party at any time to vote in the primaries. Inactive voters are not eligible to vote until they restore their active status. You may do so by renewing your voter registration online or by mail. 

What offices are on the ballot on August 11? 

Registered Democrats and Republicans vote in Connecticut primary elections on August 11 to determine party candidates for numerous state House and Senate races, three U.S. congressional seats, and the U.S. presidential race.  

How do I know if I am registered to vote in Connecticut? 

You can check your registration status here: https://portaldir.ct.gov/sots/LookUp.aspx. 

How do I register to vote in the 2020 Primary? 

You may register online at: https://voterregistration.ct.gov/OLVR/   

You may also register by mail by printing and completing the Voter Registration form and mailing it to your local election official.   

If you miss the deadline for registering for an election, you can register and vote in person on Election Day at your town’s Election Day Registration location. Contact your local registrars of voters for information about location, hours of operation, and ID requirements. 

What are the voter registration deadlines? 

The voter registration deadline for the upcoming primary election is Thursday, August 6, 2020. 

How do I vote in the August 11 primary? 

You may vote in person on August 11 or vote by mail. To vote by mail, you must request, complete, and submit an Absentee Ballot. 

Where and when do I vote? 

Polls in Connecticut are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, August 11, 2020. If you wish to vote in person, you may find your poll site here: https://portaldir.ct.gov/sots/LookUp.aspx. You may also vote by mail, with an Absentee Ballot. 

What is the process for voting by mail/absentee ballot? 

  1. Apply for an Absentee Ballot. 
  2. Please note: Absentee ballot applications were sent to all active Connecticut voters registered as Democrats or Republicans in June. 
  3. You will receive your Absentee Ballot in the mail.  
  4. Fill out your Absentee Ballot in its entirety. 
  5. Submit your Absentee Ballot by mail or in-person to your local town clerk by 8 p.m. on Election Day, August 11, 2020. 

Is there a deadline to request an absentee ballot? 

Yes! Your absentee ballot application must be received by your local town clerk by Monday, August 10. 

How do I request an absentee ballot? 

An Absentee Ballot must be requested by mail. You can find the appropriate forms at myvote.ct.gov/absentee 

How do I cast an absentee ballot? 

Cast your Absentee Ballot by mail or in-person to your local town clerk by 8 p.m. on August 11, 2020. 

What happens if I don’t have enough postage to mail my absentee ballot application or absentee ballot? 

USPS has a policy of always delivering absentee ballots and applications, even if they are short on or missing postage. 

I have a different question about Absentee Ballots. 

The office of the Connecticut Secretary of State has created an FAQ on Absentee Ballots that may answer your question. 

Do voters with disabilities have special rights? 

Yes! Important federal and state laws exist to protect people with disabilities’ fundamental right to vote and prohibit discrimination. For more detailed information, the office of the Connecticut Secretary of State has compiled a Fact Sheet for Voters with Disabilities.