Voter FAQs

Where can I register to vote? 

If you are currently residing in Cambridge or consider Cambridge to be your most recent home/permanent address, you are eligible to register and vote in Massachusetts. If you are residing in Cambridge, but have residence in another location that you consider home, you are eligible to vote in that state. 

Can I still vote in Cambridge if I am away from Campus?  

If you intend to return back to Campus and consider Cambridge to be your home, you can request a mail ballot and vote in Massachusetts.

When should I complete my voter readiness steps?  

You should check your voter registration, register to vote, and request a mail ballot ASAP and ideally before September 22nd - National Voter Registration Day. You should submit your ballot as soon as you receive it and no later than October 24th - Vote Early Day.

Is it better to vote by mail or to vote in person? 

This decision is completely up to you! Check howto.vote to see if you qualify for mail voting. Note that your usual polling places might be closed and also that you may need an excuse to vote by mail (depending on your stats). If you have not requested a mail ballot by October 20th, you should plan to vote in person. And if your ballot has not arrived by October 27th, you should vote in person.

What is the difference between absentee voting and vote by mail? 

There is no difference. Absentee voting has traditionally described voting by mail when not in the state where you are registered to vote. Voting by mail describes a process where all registered voters can mail in a ballot.

Who’s on my ballot? 

It’s not just presidential candidates that are on the ballot! State legislators, city councilors, governors, and ballot measures might appear on your ballot this fall. Learn more about your candidates at ballotready.org.

What to do if your ballot doesn’t arrive?  

First, check to see when your state sends out mail ballots to voters at your state government’s website. Some states allow you to track your ballot’s location online. Feel free to also call your local election office. If you have not requested a ballot by October 20th or if you have not submitted your ballot by October 28th, plan to vote in person if you can. If you are not in your state, you can attempt to submit the Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (https://www.fvap.gov/fwab-privacy-notice.) This form is designed for those abroad but will sometimes be accepted from absentee voters in the continental US.

If I requested a mail ballot, can I still vote in person? 

Yes! 

Do I need to buy stamps and envelopes? 

In many states, you can register to vote and request an absentee ballot online or by email. Some states will also mail you a pre-postaged ballot. If you do need stamps and envelopes to mail in forms or your ballot, you can find these resources at a post office or sometimes at a grocery store. TurboVote will mail you a registration form and absentee ballot request form if you sign up for their service.

Do I need ID?  

In some states, you may need to show ID to register to vote, submit a mail ballot, or vote in person. Check out www.vote.org/voter-id-laws for a state by state breakdown

What to do about notaries and witnesses?  

In some states, you will need witnesses to sign your mail in ballot. These can be anyone nearby – your family or your friends. A small number of states require that mail in ballots be notarized. If you are in Cambridge and need notary services, we are working to coordinate local options and will post them on our website. If you are in your home state, your local election office will usually have recommended notaries listed. 

What’s a ballot drop box? 

These are locations set up by your elections office for you to submit ballots. Check your local elections website to find out if and where your community has ballot drop boxes.