There is always a lot at stake during a presidential election year, but 2012 is shaping up to be vitally important to Bay State voters. All eyes are on the race for the Massachusetts seat in the U.S. Senate – one of the most watched contests in the country – and the most recent Census has reshaped the commonwealth with a new redistricting plan. We asked Secretary of State William Galvin to share his thoughts on the importance of voting, and what voters need to know before they head to the polls on Nov. 6.
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Why is it important to vote?
We are electing a president this year, as well as a U.S. Senator and our members of Congress. An election is the time for you to have a say on what the candidates are proposing for our future policies both foreign and domestic. Here in Massachusetts, we will be electing all the senators and representatives in the state legislature, and deciding important initiative questions. This is your opportunity to be heard on the choices presented by the candidates; take the opportunity and vote.
How will the new redistricting affect Bay State Voters?
With the reapportionment that followed the 2010 Federal Census, Massachusetts was reduced from ten congressmen to nine. New districts were drawn by the Legislature last year for Congress, as well as for state senators and representatives. Also, most cities and towns drew new ward and precinct lines. As a result, some voters may be in a different precinct or ward, and even have a different polling place from where they voted before.
What are the deadlines for voter registration, and how can residents register to vote?
The last day to register to vote in the November 6 election is Wednesday, October 17. Registration that day will be available from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. In towns with 1,500 voters or fewer, registration must be held from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 8 p.m. Mail-in registration forms are available online. They can be filled out on-line, then printed out or printed and then completed. The signed form can them be mailed to the resident’s town clerk or city election department.
Where can voters find their polling place?
The Elections Division has a website, and by clicking on My Election Information you can get the location of your polling place as well as who your elected officials are by typing in your address. Also on the site is a municipal directory with the telephone numbers of each city and town clerk or election department where you can call to make sure you are registered to vote.
Thanks to Secretary Galvin for taking the time to answer our questions!
Can’t make it to the polls on Nov. 6?
You can apply for an absentee ballot. The deadline is noon before Election Day, though it’s best to apply a few weeks ahead of time. Visit the Elections Division page for more information.
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