Elections and Voting
The Office of the Town Clerk is also the department in Town Hall that administers federal, state and local elections for the Town of Winchester. The office can assist you with many aspects concerning voter registration, eligibility questions, absentee balloting, early voting, online voter registration and much more. Please review the details on this site and contact us if you have any further questions.
Registering to Vote
You may register to vote in Massachusetts if:
· You are a citizen of the United States; and
· You will be at least 18 years of age on or before the next election; and
· You are a resident of Massachusetts; and
· You are not currently incarcerated by reason of a felony conviction.
If you meet the above requirements, you may register to vote online, by mail, or in-person.
The deadline to register to vote in any election or regular town meeting is twenty (20) days prior to the date of the election or meeting. The deadline to register to vote in a special town meeting is ten (10) days prior to the special town meeting.
In order to register to vote online, you must have a signature on file with the Registry of Motor Vehicles. If you currently have a Massachusetts driver's license or state ID card, you may use the online voter registration application to register, update your address, or change your party affiliation. Voter registration forms submitted online must be submitted by midnight on the date of the voter registration deadline.
Registering by mail:
If you do not qualify to register to vote online, or if you would prefer to register by mail, you may download the voter registration form by using the link provided in the box to the right. The form must be completed, signed, and delivered to your local election official. Voter registration forms submitted by mail must be postmarked no later than the voter registration deadline.
If you would like to register in-person, you may do so at any local election office, as well as the Elections Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office. Voter registration is also available as part of every transaction at the Registry of Motor Vehicles and at certain public assistance agencies. Voter registration forms completed in-person are valid as of the day that they are signed.
Changing Your Address:
You must update your voter registration every time you move. If you have moved, you may update your registration by filling out a new voter registration form. If you move after the deadline to register to vote in a state election or primary, you should wait to update your registration until after the date of the election or primary, and return to vote at your previous polling place in Massachusetts. State law allows you to vote from a previous address in a state election for up to six month after you have moved, as long as you have not registered elsewhere.
If you wish to change your party enrollment, you may do so by filling out a new voter registration form. Members of political parties may vote only in their own party's primary elections. Unenrolled voters (commonly referred to as "Independents") and members of political designations or minor parties may vote in the party primary of their choice. Choosing to vote in a particular party's primary does NOT enroll you as a member of that party.
A full list of political parties and designations may be found here.
Certain voters must submit a copy of their identification with their voter registration or present it at their polling place on Election Day. For more information on identification requirements, please see our page on Identification Requirements.
Absentee Ballot Information
Absentee Voting Eligibility
In order to be eligible to vote by absentee ballot in Massachusetts, a voter must be prevented from voting at their polling place on Election Day, due to:
· Absence from the voter's city or town on Election Day; or
· Physical disability; or
· Religious belief.
Early voting will be available for biennial November state elections only, beginning with the November 8, 2016 State Election.
Applying for Absentee Ballots
Absentee ballots must be requested in writing by either the voter or the voter's family member. For convenience, absentee ballot applications may be downloaded from this page; however, any written communication evidencing a desire for an absentee ballot is acceptable. If you would like to request an absentee ballot, you may submit an application or a signed letter to your local election official. If you are requesting an absentee ballot for a family member, be sure to submit the request to the voter's local election official.
When completing the application, you may indicate whether you are requesting a ballot for a specific election, or if you will be needing a ballot for all elections this year. Please note that absentee ballot applications expire at the end of each calendar year. If you are a voter with a permanent physical disability, you may file a note from your doctor to that effect with your local election official. Voters with permanent physical disabilities are sent completed applications at the beginning of each year, to be signed and returned to their local election official.
All requests for absentee ballots must be received by your local election official no later than 12 p.m. on the day before the election for which the ballot is being requested. Applications may be submitted in person, by mail, fax, or by e-mail; however, the local election official must be able to view the signature of the person requesting the ballot. If the application is being submitted by e-mail, a scanned copy of the request must be submitted.
Contact information for local election officials may be found here.
If you are voting by mail, you should be sure to submit your application in a timely manner. Please allow enough time for the ballot to be mailed to you and for you to return the ballot by Election Day. All ballots being mailed from inside the United States must be received by your local election official no later than the close of polls on Election Day.
If you would like to vote in person, you may do so in the office of your local election official. In-person absentee voting should be arranged ahead of time.
When Absentee Ballots are Counted
Except for ballots which are rejected as defective, all absentee ballots are cast and counted by the poll workers on Election Day. Absentee ballots are included in the final tallies, and are counted whether or not an election contains a close race.