Q&A: Municipal Elections During COVID-19
Q: Voting by mail is highly encouraged due to COVID-19. How does this work?
A: There are 2 methods of voting by mail during the COVID-19 situation; Absentee or Early voting.
Absentee Voting: In order to be eligible to vote by absentee ballot in Massachusetts, normally 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.
However, due to COVID-19, Chapter 45 of the Acts of 2020 permits any person taking precautions related to COVID-10 in response to a declared State of Emergency shall also be eligible to request an absentee ballot.
Absentee ballot applications can be downloaded here:
Early Voting: Typically, early voting is not permitted for local elections. However, Chapter 45 of the Acts of 2020 states: Notwithstanding section 25B of chapter 54 of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary, any eligible voter may vote early by mail for any annual or special municipal or state election held on or before June 30, 2020.
There will be no early voting sites / voting locations for the Annual Election. IF there is is absentee voting at the Town Hall (and we do not yet know if there will be), it will be by appointment only and one voter allowed in at a time.
If you cannot download an application, a hand-written or typed note with your signature can be sent to the Town Clerk. You can mail it to 511 Main Street, Dunstable, MA 01827 or scan and email to Cskerrett@dunstable-ma.gov.
Various forms of communicating your request is accepted for either the absentee or early voting ballot - however, the request must be in writing and must be signed by the applicant. (no calls, voicemails, etc.)
Q: Is there a recommended time to allow ballots to be mailed back and forth?
A: The “official” deadline to request a ballot by mail is Monday, June 15 – NOON TIME, and then ballots must be received no later than 8 PM Tuesday, June 16 – Election Day. However, it can take up to three weeks to request a ballot by mail and receive it under normal circumstances even if all transactions occur within Dunstable. With COVID-19 restrictions, this process is even slower. Therefore – it is important to request your ballot as soon as possible if you plan to vote by mail.
However, if you do want to vote at the polls, the voting hours are Noon - 8:00 pm. We are taking every safety precaution for your health and for the safety of the poll workers. We will require social distancing (6' apart), the wearing of a mask or face covering and you may bring your own pen as long as it's not red ink. We will be sanitizing our pens and booths and provide hand sanitizer at the check in and check out stations.
Q: What is the last day to register to vote for the new date of June 16?
A: Friday, June 5. This is for anyone new to town, or you have never registered to vote before.
Q: Does MA have online voter registration?
A: Yes, one can register on line at www.registertovotema.com, as long as you have a signature on file with the Registry of Motor Vehicles, which could be a MA driver’s license or a State ID card.
Additional questions regarding the upcoming Annual Election scheduled for Tuesday, June 16 should be sent to the Town Clerk, Carol Skerrett at Cskerrett@dunstable-ma.gov