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OPINION: Pump up the turnout - early voting begins October 24!

OPINION: Pump up the turnout! Early Voting Begins October 24

Our take: For the first time in the Commonwealth's history, Massachusetts registered voters have the opportunity to cast their ballots early.  In 2008, 50% of Waltham's registered voters cast ballots (16% below state average).  In 2012, the turnout was 70.7% (4% above state average).  This year, Waltham can and must do better.   It's difficult to find another Presidential election cycle which has been as contentious and volatile as this in modern history.  The bottom line is a robust voter turnout which breaks records can only serve to validate the will of the people in a divided nation.  With the availability of early voting, registered voters have several options available. Once early voting begins, we will be reminding voters every day in social media.  We have all the dates posted on our Waltham Calendar..  Remember the last day to register to vote in this election is October 19th.  The bottom line is regardless of which candidate you support, your voice cannot be heard unless you VOTE.  On November 9th, hopefully Americans will know the outcome of the elections and we can move forward to support winner after almost two years of what seems like an episode in the political Twilight Zone.  

Via City of Waltham website: The City Clerk’s office is excited to announce that all registered voters will be able vote before Election Day for the first time ever in Massachusetts. Early voting will begin on October 24th and continue through November 4th, 2016. Prior to the enactment of this new law, the only way a registered voter was allowed to vote prior to Election Day was through absentee voting. Although absentee voting will still be available for registered voters who qualify, only those who will be absent from their city or town on Election Day, or have a disability that prevents them from going to the polls, or have a religious belief preventing the same, are legally allowed to vote by absentee ballot.

Unlike absentee voting, early voting is for every registered voter. Registered voters do not need an excuse or reason to vote early. Regardless of whether a voter wants to take advantage of early voting, vote absentee or vote on Election Day, the first step is making sure you are registered. To check to see if you are registered to vote, and to find information on how to register to vote, you may visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website: www.sec.state.ma.us/ele. If you need to register to vote, you may do it online by visiting: www.RegisterToVoteMA.com. All you need is a license or an I.D. issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles to apply online. To be eligible to vote in the November 8th State Election, you must register to vote or make any necessary changes to your voter registration by October 19th, 2016.

Early voting can be done in person or by mail. In Waltham, early voting can be done in person at City Hall, 610 Main Street on Mondays from 8:30am – 4:30pm, Wednesdays from 8:30am – 8pm and Fridays from 8:30am – 4:30pm. Additionally, we will offer early voting at Prospect Hill Park, 322 Totten Pond Road on Tuesdays from 9am – 5pm and Thursdays from 9am – 8pm. For public convenience, Waltham has also decided to offer weekend hours on Saturday, October 29, 2016 from 8am – 2pm at City Hall.

Also, registered voters have the option to request an early voting ballot through the mail. Simply fill out an application and mail it to the City Clerk’s Office, 610 Main Street Waltham, MA 02452. You can find the application on the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele

Please note, however, once a voter has cast an early voting ballot, the voter may no longer vote at the polls on Election Day.

For the first time in Massachusetts, the first choice all voters will make is which day to vote. Early voting will make the most fundamental right of our citizens more convenient than ever to exercise. We encourage all of our citizens to exercise that right and take advantage of the opportunity to vote on their schedules.