The Absentee Ballot
not lost in translation

Please Send Us Your Feedback
Questions, comments, or feedback:
Your name:

How to Apply for an Absentee Ballot (sample questions from state of Massachusetts)

I can't get to the polls on election day. Can I vote?
Yes. You may vote by absentee ballot if you:

will be absent from your city or town on election day, and/or
have a physical disability that prevents your voting at the polling place, and/or
cannot vote at the polls due to religious beliefs.

How can I apply for an absentee ballot?
Apply in writing to your city or town clerk or election commission and include your:

  1. name,
  2. address as registered,
  3. ward and precinct (if you know them),
  4. address where you wish the absentee ballot sent,
  5. in a primary, the party ballot you want, and
  6. your signature.

There is an application form available at your local election office or by downloading one of the applications below. You
may also make application by letter or note. Whichever method you choose, the application must be made in writing and

Absentee Ballot Applications...
If you do not have a pdf reader, please download and install Acrobat Reader in order to view and print the following

Absentee Ballot Application (PDF, 120k)

Peticion de Voto en Ausencia (PDF, 452k)

Note: A family member of a person qualified to vote by absentee ballot may apply in the same manner for you. Download
and use the application below.

Absentee Ballot Application by a Family Member (PDF, 100k)

Peticion de Voto en Ausencia para un Familiar (PDF, 444k)

Can anyone else apply for an absentee ballot for me?

Yes. A family member may apply for you.

When should I submit my application for an absentee ballot?
If you wish to vote by absentee ballot for more than one election in a year you may make one application and request that
ballots for all elections during that calendar year be sent to you.

If you vote by mail, make certain the application arrives at your local election office early. Remember, the ballot will be
mailed to you. You may mail or hand-deliver it back to the election office but must arrive before the close of the polls on
election day (8:00 p.m. for state elections).

If you cast your ballot at the clerk's office before election day, plan to visit the office two or three weeks before the election.
You can make your application and cast your vote in one visit.

Call the clerk's office to make certain that the absentee ballots are available. Absentee ballots should be available three
weeks before an election.

How do I vote by absentee ballot?
You may vote at the clerk's office or request that the ballot be mailed to you. The deadline for applying for an absentee
ballot is noon of the day before the election.

Can a family member apply for my absentee ballot?

Must I be a registered voter in order to vote by absentee ballot?
  1. Yes, unless you are a "specially qualified voter". A specially qualified voter is a person:
  2. who is otherwise eligible to register as a voter and
  3. whose present domicile is outside the United States and whose last domicile in the United States was Massachusetts or
    whose present domicile is Massachusetts and who is:
  4. (a) absent from the city or town or residence and in the active service of the armed forces or in the merchant marine
    of the United States or a spouse or dependent of such person; (b) absent from the commonwealth; or (c) confined in a
    correctional facility or a jail, except if by reason of felony conviction.

Must my ballot be witnessed?

What if I'm not able to mark my 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.

Are polling places accessible to elderly and disabled voters?
Yes. Federal law required polling places be accessible by 1986.

I'm permanently disabled. May I vote at home?
Yes. You must apply to your local election office to do so. File a letter from your doctor with the town or city clerk or
election commission. The doctor must state that you are permanently unable to cast your ballot at the polling place due to a
physical disability.

The local election official 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.

My parent is in a nursing home. Is she/he able to vote by absentee ballot?
Yes, as long as that individual is not under a court ordered guardianship which specifically prohibits voting.

Any patient in a nursing home 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 patient states that he/she has entered a hospital after noon of the fifth day before the election,
the ballot may be hand-delivered to the voter; otherwise, the ballot should be mailed to the voter at the facility.

Consult the administration of the nursing home for further instructions.  
How to apply for an absentee ballot