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The Polls Are Open. What Are You Waiting For?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010, 12:00 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

It’s Special Senatorial Election Day in Massachusetts. Please be sure to vote! Polling places are open from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., long enough to accommodate almost any work or school schedule.

Here are a few reminders and voting tips:

  • To vote in this election, you must be a United States citizen, at least 18 years old as of today, and registered to vote in the city or town where you live. If you are otherwise qualified but have never registered, you can’t vote today. To find out how to register to vote in future elections, visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth‘s web site.
  • If you don’t know where to vote, go here and complete the online form to get the address of the polling place.
  • You do not have to pay any fee or tax or pass any test to be able to vote.
  • If you arrive at the polling place and there is a line, wait if you possibly can. The lines tend to move along rather quickly, especially when there is only one office on the ballot like there is today. If you leave and come back, the line may be even longer then.
  • If anyone inside or outside the polling place tries to harass, intimidate, threaten, or otherwise coerce you into voting a certain way, report it immediately to the poll workers or, if they are on the scene, police.
  • Do not carry, wear, or otherwise display any campaign signs, buttons, stickers, or other items supporting or opposing a particular candidate or party when you go into the polling place. If you do, poll workers and/or police may ask you to leave.
  • If a poll worker tells you that you are not registered to vote, tell him or her that you want to complete a provisional ballot. Your ballot will be kept separate from the others, but if local election officials are able to verify that you are indeed properly registered to vote, it will be added to the ballot box to be counted.
  • Besides assistance you may need if you are handicapped, no one is permitted into the voting booth with you.
  • Read the ballot instructions and follow them carefully. If you have any questions or need assistance of any kind, ask a poll worker.
  • Do not vote for more candidates than there are offices available. What that means today is that you can vote for only one candidate. Marking more than one candidate will void your ballot and your vote will not be counted.
  • Do not mark a candidate and also write his or her name in the “write-in” space; that might void your ballot and your vote might not be counted.
  • Do not write your name on the ballot, write comments in the margins, draw doodles or smiley faces, or otherwise make stray marks on the ballot; such marks might void your ballot and your vote might not be counted.
  • If you make an error marking your ballot, immediately go to a poll worker and ask for a new one. Crossing out and trying to correct your error might result in your ballot being rejected.
  • Your ballot is 100% private. That means that if you accepted a ride or anything else in exchange for voting a certain way, you can still vote how you want and no one will know.
  • You do not have to show your ballot to anyone else before you insert it into the box or machine.
  • It is illegal to vote more than once (such as by absentee ballot and then at a polling place), to vote in more than one city or town, or to vote under another person’s name.
  • Finally, keep in mind as you cast your ballot that hundreds of millions of adults in the world aren’t allowed to vote at all, and many more risk their lives trying to vote. That we are able to vote freely and safely is a remarkable treasure.
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Categories: government
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