Concerns about voting
July 27, 2020

Joan Hatem-Roy, Chief Executive Officer

Q: This year, I am concerned about voting in person because of COVID and the flu season. Due to my age and chronic health condition, I am not going to take a chance on exposing myself by potentially being in long lines of people waiting to vote. Can you provide information on absentee voting? What are my options?

A: This is an issue for many people who are concerned about COVID’s effect on voting. Earlier this month, Gov. Baker signed a law that allows all registered voters in Massachusetts to vote by mail in any 2020 election. Prior to this, the only reasons for someone to request an absentee ballot was due to physical disability, religious beliefs or absence from the state at the time of the election.

A Vote by Mail application will soon be mailed to every individual who was registered to vote by July 1 but had not already requested an absentee ballot. A second mailing will take place in September. If you want to vote by absentee ballot, you must return that application, so you get the ballot in time to be counted. Applications for an absentee ballot must reach your local election office by August 26 for the State Primary. Applications must reach your local election office by October 28 for the State Election.

These applications do not require postage and are pre-addressed to your local election official. If you do not receive an application, you can request one by calling 1-800-462-8683 or go online at and download and application.

Additionally, there has been an expansion of early in-person voting days in hopes to reduce crowd size at polling sites. For the Massachusetts Primary, the in-person voting days are August 22-28, and for the State Election the days are October 7-30. For more information, visit


Are you struggling caring for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our experienced staff are available to offer assistance. Call 1-800-892-0890 (for the 23 cities and towns of the Merrimack Valley) or 978-750-4540 (for the 5 towns in the North Shore).

Do you have a question? We encourage inquiries and comments from our readers. Direct correspondence to or
Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of Elder Services of Merrimack Valley and North Shore.

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