For many reasons, including a wave of new voter registrations and the hard-fought, close race between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, MassVOTE projects record-breaking voter participation in Massachusetts. Over 1,000,000 voters will be either first-time voters or a people who haven’t voted since 2008. Here’s advice to make sure your vote counts. Please forward.
1. Know where to go. You may be voting in a different place from previous years. Go to wheredoivotema.com and enter the address where you are registered or call 1-800-462-8683. Don’t vote in the wrong place – your ballot will not be counted.
2. Know how you’ll get there. Will you walk? Take a bus? Drive? Get directions now, not on Election Day. Or call Elizabeth Warren HQ for a ride. In Pittsfield, the number is: 413-822-6400.
3. Know who will be with you. All your neighbors are voting, too. Expect a short wait, especially if you vote during morning or evening rush hours. Polls are open from 7:00am to 8:00pm.
4. Know what to expect. When you walk in, you will be asked for your name and address, and then you will be given your ballot. Take your time to fill it out. When you finish, you will be asked for your name and address again. Then you slide your ballot into the voting machine. That’s it.
5. Don’t be late, be there by 8:00 p.m. If you are in line at 8:00 pm, you will be allowed to vote. After 8:00pm, you won’t be able to vote. Don’t take the risk – arrive early.
6. Don’t get bullied or fooled by false myths. It doesn’t matter if you have unpaid parking tickets or a criminal record, if you are on probation or on parole, or if you are homeless. Every free, registered citizen has the right to vote in Massachusetts.
7. Bring a friend or your child. No child care? No problem. You can bring most anyone you choose with you into the polls. Bringing your child is a great way to teach him or her to be responsible. In fact, when my son was small, I carried him on my shoulders into the voting booth in NYC, where he pulled the levers for me!
8. Bring ID. Most people don’t need it, but bring it just in case. Your ID does not need to have a photo, but it does need to show the address where you are registered. A MA license will work, but so will a paycheck, a recent utility bill or a bank statement. Know that if you don’t bring ID, you still have the right to vote.
9. Vote early. If you can’t get to the polls because of illness, disability, or religious belief, or if you’ll be out of town on Election Day, vote absentee. You can vote absentee in person at your city or town hall until noon on Monday.
10. Know your choices. Your ballot will probably be double-sided and have multiple pages. You don’t have to vote in every race – but don’t accidentally miss voting for ballot questions or races that matter to you. You have the right to get up to two replacement ballots if you make a mistake. See your ballot at www.wheredoivotema.com. Learn about the major ballot questions at www.massvote.org/questions
REMEMBER: Poll workers are there to help. There will be about half a million people voting for the first time. If you need help for any reason, you have the right to get help from the poll workers. If you have any problem voting, call 1-866-OUR-VOTE, the national nonpartisan Voter Assistance Hotline sponsored by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under Law.