The Boston Election Department is reminding voters that the Preliminary Municipal Election will be held on Tuesday, September 12, 2023 in City Council Districts 3, 5, 6, and 7.
The Preliminary Municipal Election will determine the field of candidates whose names will appear on the official ballot at the Municipal Election on November 7.
In-Person Early Voting
In-person Early Voting began Saturday, September 2nd and runs through Friday, September 8th. Early Voting provides the flexibility to vote at a location that is convenient for voters. All ballot styles will be available at every early voting location.
All early voting locations are accessible to voters with disabilities. Every location will also have AutoMark machines for voters who need help marking their ballots. More information about in-person early voting is available here.
Voters who requested vote-by-mail ballots or absentee ballots must have their signed ballot returned to the Boston Election Department by 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 12, 2023 in order to be counted. Ballots cannot be delivered to a polling location on Election Day.
Voters may return their voted ballot using one of 21 drop boxes located throughout the city. All drop boxes will remain open until 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. For a list of drop box locations click here: in-person at the Boston Election Department located at City Hall Room 241, or via U.S. Mail using the postage paid return.
Voters can track the status of requests for vote-by-mail ballots here. If there is no movement indicated in the “Track My Ballot” system, voters should plan to vote in-person on Election Day.
The Accessible Electronic Voting System allows voters who are unable to independently read, write, hold, or physically manipulate or mark ballots to submit their ballot via a secure electronic delivery system. Voter’s who qualify for an Accessible Electronic Ballot may apply here.
Please note: To get access to the electronic ballot, voters will need to provide their email address.
Voting on Election Day
Polling locations open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 8:00 p.m. A list of polling locations in Districts
3, 5, 6 and 7 can be found here. If a voter has moved, changed their name, or forgot to fill out Boston’s Annual Residential Listing, they may need to update their voting status.
As a reminder, voters should check their registration status via the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website. Printed ballots will be available in English and Spanish. Chinese and Vietnamese ballots will be available where required. Language interpreters will also be available upon request.. All voting locations are ADA accessible and are equipped with AutoMark Voter Assist Terminal for voters with visual or hearing impairment.
After polls close at 8:00 p.m., the Election Department will receive and upload unofficial results of ballots counted at polling places as they are returned from each precinct.
Media Guidelines Where to Stand
Members of the press must remain behind the guardrail. While many polling places are not equipped with a physical guardrail, the area within the “guardrail” encompasses the check-in table, the voting booths, and the ballot box. Only poll workers and voters should be within this area.
Interacting with Voters and Poll Workers
Members of the press, like all other observers in the polling place, may not interact with voters while they are in the polling place. Further, observers who have questions about where they should stand and what they are allowed to do while observing should ask to speak to the warden. The warden may provide members of the press with information regarding their rights as observers.
Photography of the voting process in the polling place is permitted, though marked ballots may not be photographed. Photographers are allowed inside the polling place to photograph the area from outside the guardrail. The warden may instruct the photographer not to take photos of any marked ballots.
Video & Audio Recording
As with photography of the polling place, video recording of the polling place is allowed. Audio recording of the polling place is not permitted under state law. Anyone recording in the polling place must have the ability to record without capturing audio and should be instructed to do so by the warden. Those who are using electronic equipment may not use the electricity in the polling place to power their equipment.
Exit polling and interviews of voters are permitted outside the polling place, even within 150 feet of the entrance to the polling place, but only those voters who are leaving the polling place should be stopped. Voter access to the polling place should not be impeded in any way.