Mail-In Voting Options for 2020 Town Election
Legislation passed on March 23, 2020 due to the COVID-19 state of emergency made it possible to reschedule local elections and to allow the use of “early voting by mail” for the rescheduled election. Absentee voting is another option, and the eligibility for voting absentee has been expanded.
The League of Women Voters of Needham encourages you to use one of these mail-in voting methods for the May 26 election. For this election, which will be conducted under the temporary law, there is little difference between absentee voting and early voting by mail. Early voting by mail is similar to absentee voting, but unlike absentee voting, no excuse is required. The Early Voting Application asks fewer questions and is therefore a little faster to complete. The submission of the request, the ballot, and the voting procedure are the same, but the application forms are different.
In a nutshell, registered voters must submit an application requesting a ballot. The Town Clerk mails you a ballot. After filling out the ballot, mail it to the the Town Clerk. Specific procedures are detailed below.
The date of the rescheduled Needham election is Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Because of Memorial Day (May 25), the last business day before the election is Friday, May 22.
Early Voting by Mail
Signed applications requesting an early voting ballot will be accepted by email, mail (including drop box in front of Town Hall), or fax.
The League of Women Voters encourages you to Early Vote by Mail. The deadline to request an Early Voting Ballot is 12:00 noon the business day before the election (noon on Friday, May 22, 2020). Please submit your request early to allow time for your ballot to be mailed to you and for you to return your voted ballot so it reaches Town Hall by close of polls to be counted.
How it Works
Early voting ballot requests must be made in writing and signed. When requesting an early voting ballot, please be certain to leave enough time for mailing. Early voting ballot requests are for a specific election. When the voter receives the early voting ballot in the mail, the voter should mark the ballot, complete and sign the inner affidavit envelope, and return the voted ballot (sealed inside inner envelope) to the Town Clerk by mail or the Drop Box in front of Town Hall. Once the voted early voting ballot is received, the voter’s process of voting is complete and may not be changed. Early voting ballots must be received by the Town Clerk before the polls close at 4:00 PM on Election Day (May 26, 2020).
Requesting an Early Voting by Mail Ballot
To request a ballot for early voting by mail, complete an Early Voting Ballot Application or send a letter to the Town Clerk. The signed application or letter may be mailed, emailed, or faxed (see specifics below). A ballot will be mailed to you.
Send your written request (application form or letter) by one of the following methods:
- By email to Teaton@needhamma.gov (include a readable signed early ballot application form or letter)
- By mail to
Needham Town Clerk
Needham Town Hall
1471 Highland Avenue
Needham, MA 02492
- By Drop Box in front of Town Hall
If you have questions, contact the Town Clerk by email or phone (781-455-7500 x 216).
Absentee Voting by Mail
The March 23 legislation expanded acceptable reasons for voting absentee to include any person taking precautions related to COVID-19 in response to a declared state of emergency or from guidance from a medical professional, local or state health official, or any civil authority.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot is 12:00 noon the business day before the election (noon on Friday, May 22, 2020). Please file your request early to allow time for your ballot to be mailed to you and for you to return your voted ballot so it reaches Town Hall by close of polls to be counted.
How It Works
All Absentee Ballot requests must be made in writing and signed. Absentee ballot requests can be for a specific election date or for the rest of the calendar year. When the voter receives the absentee ballot in the mail, the voter should mark the ballot, complete and sign the inner affidavit envelope, and return the voted ballot (sealed inside inner envelope) to the Town Clerk. Absentee ballots must be received by the Town Clerk by mail or Drop Box in front of Town Hall before the polls close at 4:00 PM on Election Day (May 26, 2020).
Requesting an Absentee Ballot
To request an absentee ballot, complete and submit an Absentee Ballot Application or a signed letter requesting an absentee ballot. The request may be mailed, emailed, or faxed (see specifics above). A ballot will be mailed to you.
Applications for absentee ballots are available to be downloaded and printed, but you may also request an absentee ballot by writing a letter to your clerk’s office (see address above), if you do not have access to a printer. Be sure to include your name and address, the election(s) for which you are requesting a ballot, and your signature. If you need the ballot mailed somewhere other than your home, be sure to provide that address. A family member may also apply for the voter using the Absentee Ballot Application and checking off the first box under Special Circumstances.
Mailing/Dropping Off the Ballot
Once you have received your absentee ballot (after requesting either an early voting ballot or absentee ballot), follow the directions inside and submit it to the Town Clerk through US Mail or by dropping it off at Town Hall. For US Mail, the required postage is $0.70. The Drop Box requires no postage and is in front of Town Hall, near Highland Avenue.
All mail-in ballots must be received by the close of polls on election day, May 26. The polls are open from 7 am to 4 pm.
(sources: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/, http://www.needhamma.gov/civicalerts.aspx?AID=1131, http://www.needhamma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/21229/update_4292020?bidId=, http://www.needhamma.gov/civicalerts.aspx?AID=1159 ).