By Justin Saunders CapeCod.com Staff | October 8, 2020
BOSTON – Attorney General Maura Healey has announced a number of initiatives to ensure election integrity in the weeks leading up to November 3.
“As Election Day approaches, I want each and every voter to know that my office is working hard to ensure your vote is counted, your voice is heard, and our elections have integrity,” said Healey.
“We are here to strengthen trust in our democratic process and protect your right to vote.”
Election Protection Task Force
Healey has convened an internal task force to coordinate election protection related priorities across the office and with state attorneys general across the country.
The task force includes attorneys in the AG’s Office with expertise in civil rights, civil litigation, and criminal prosecution.
Its work is focused on ensuring that every ballot cast is counted and preparing to respond to and prosecute voter intimidation, which includes staffing the office’s civil rights hotline to address concerns of interference at the polls.
Voter Education Campaign
The AG’s Office has launched a new website with resources available for voters, including important dates, information about voting options, and how the AG’s Office is protecting residents’ right to vote.
For more information, visit mass.gov/protectthevote.
This week, the AG’s Office will also distribute thousands of voter protection flyers in multiple languages to the state’s community-based organizations, faith-based groups, neighborhood associations, disability rights advocates, senior centers, colleges and universities, government officials, and municipalities.
The flyers have been translated to Arabic, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Spanish, and Vietnamese, and are also available online at mass.gov/votingflyers.
The AG’s Voter Protection Flyer has information about how to vote, including making sure voters register or confirm their voter registration at www.RegisterToVoteMA.com by the deadline of October 24, 2020.
Voters can vote four ways:
- Vote Early by Mail: Apply now at www.MailMyBallotMA.com. We recommend you submit your application by October 20. Return your ballot by mail or deliver it in person to your local election office, an official ballot return drop box, or any early voting location in your city or town during early voting hours. Your ballot must be postmarked or dropped off by November 3 and, if mailed, must be received by your local election office by November 6. Track your ballot at www.TrackMyBallotMA.com or look up drop-off locations at www.mass.gov/vote.
- Vote Early in Person: Vote at an early voting location in your city or town between October 17 and October 30. Early voting locations and hours will be posted by October 9 on www.MassEarlyVote.com.
- Vote Absentee: You can vote absentee if you will be out of town or have a physical disability or a religious belief that prevents you from voting at your polling location. Request an absentee ballot by October 28 and postmark or drop off your ballot by November 3. If mailed, your ballot must be received by your local election office by November 6. Request an absentee ballot application by calling 1-800-462-VOTE or visiting www.mass.gov/vote.
- Vote in Person on Election Day: On November 3, vote at your polling location between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. If you are in line by 8 p.m., you have the right to vote. Confirm your polling location at www.WhereDoIVoteMA.com.
The AG’s flyer also discusses voters’ rights to equal access, to vote without intimidation and to have their vote counted.
- Right to Equal Access: All polling locations are required to be accessible, have an accessible voting booth, and have a system that allows voters with disabilities to mark their ballot privately and independently. People with disabilities may also have someone assist them at an early voting or polling location, use the accessible vote-by-mail system, or vote absentee.
- Right to Vote without Intimidation: State law prohibits election interference and voter intimidation. If someone verbally or physically confronts you while you are trying to vote, requests documentation where none is required, follows you, or interferes in some other way with your right to vote, call the Attorney General’s Office at 617-963-2917.
- Right to Have Your Vote Counted: If you vote by mail, track your ballot to make sure it is received and accepted. If your ballot is rejected, your local election official should contact you and send another—you can submit the ballot or vote in person. If you receive a mail ballot but do not return it or if you are concerned your election office will not receive it in time, you may vote in person.
Protecting Against Voter Intimidation
Voters have the right to cast their ballot free from intimidation, harassment, or interference. State and federal laws protect this right and AG Healey has said that those who engage in this type of illegal activity will be prosecuted. The law prohibits voter intimidation by public officials and private citizens alike.
In September, Healey’s Office issued an advisory to make clear that intimidating or interfering with voters is illegal.
The advisory reminds voters that their right to vote safely and free from intimidation, harassment, and coercion is protected under federal and state law.
Information regarding voter registration and voting procedures in Massachusetts can be found on the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Elections Division website at: www.sec.state.ma.us/ele.
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