You may vote by absentee ballot if you:
- Will be absent from your city or town on Election Day
- Have a physical disability that prevents your voting at the polling place
- Cannot vote at the polls due to religious beliefs
You must be registered in order to vote absentee. You can fill out an absentee ballot request here. Overseas citizens and U.S. military personnel can find information on how to register to vote and request an absentee ballot at the Overseas Vote Foundation. To register for an absentee ballot, you must apply in writing to the city or town clerk or election commission, either in a letter or by filling out an application form. You must include your:
- Address as registered
- during a primary the the party you want to vote for
- Ward and precinct (if you know them)
- Address where you wish the absentee ballot sent
- Your signature
You can also download an absentee voting application in English or Spanish and mail it into your town clerks' office. Either way, the application must be filled out in writing and signed. If you are both applying and voting in person, the deadline for applying for an absentee ballot is 12:00 pm on the day before an election. Absentee ballots are generally available three weeks before an election.
If you wish to vote by absentee ballot for more than one election in a year, you may fill out one application and request that ballots for all elections during that calendar year be sent to you.
Note: If your address changes within a calendar year you must submit a new application for an absentee ballot.
If you are permanently disabled, you may file a doctor's letter with the local election office which states that you are permanently unable to vote at the polls due to a physical disability. The local election office will automatically mail you an application for an absentee ballot for all elections in a calendar year. You must sign the application and send it back to your local election official. Call your local election official for information about how to register to vote at home or to request that a mail-in registration form be sent to you.
Your absentee ballot must be sealed and returned in the brown envelope that was sent with the ballot. You must sign the brown envelope in the designated place and place it in the white envelope with green trim that also came with the absentee ballot. Your ballot does not have to be witnessed and if you cannot mark your absentee ballot, you may ask any person to help you. The helper must print his or her name and your name on the brown envelope, write the reason you needed help and then sign his or her name as the assisting person.
If you are in a nursing home you are able to vote by absentee ballot as long as you are not under a court ordered guardianship which specifically prohibits voting. If you are a patient in a nursing home, you must be a registered voter in order to vote by absentee ballot and must fill out an absentee ballot application. If the clerk designates a health care facility in writing 28 days before the election, the ballot must be hand-delivered to such facility by a registrar. If the you state that you have entered a hospital after 12:00 pm on the fifth day before the election the ballot may be hand-delivered to you; otherwise, the ballot should be mailed to the you at the facility. Consult the administration of the nursing home for further instructions.