by Mayor Martin J. Walsh
Voting in Boston is about to become more convenient. For the first time, registered voters who reside in the City of Boston will be able to take part in early voting, ahead of the November 8th Presidential election. This exciting new initiative, made possible by the 2014 Elections Reforms Law, will give Boston voters more options in choosing when and where to vote.
For two weeks, between October 24 and November 4, early voting polling locations will be open across the City, creating more opportunities for voters to let their voices be heard. We’ve selected polling locations based off of community feedback and smart planning. Voters will also be able to request early voting ballots by mail, which they can then return by mail or in person to City Hall.
One of the reasons this initiative is innovative is that voters participating during the early voting period will be able to cast their ballot at any polling location in the City — regardless of what neighborhood they live in. We hope that this additional flexibility will allow for more people to take part in the most critical part of our democracy.
Our lives are busier and more complicated than they used to be, so it takes work to ensure voting is accessible to everyone. That’s why we made early voting possible with this year’s City budget: we allocated $670,000 to implement early voting, which includes resources for a citywide marketing campaign and long-term investments such as electronic poll books, used to process voters at the polling locations, that will be useful in future elections. Bostonians’ lives will continue with their busy pace, and our investment in early voting means everyone will be able to participate in the civic process.
After this year’s election, Elections Department Commissioner Dion Irish and his team will evaluate what worked and what could be improved upon for future elections. Our goal is for the City of Boston to serve as an example for communities across the Commonwealth and beyond — and if you’re a Boston voter, I hope you will take part.
Early voting will give everyone more opportunity to vote. For first time-voters, busy moms and dads, young professionals, persons with disabilities and our seniors, this initiative will allow you to make a plan to vote that works around your schedule, not the other way around.
Making a plan to vote is important. As we near this early voting period, I encourage all voters to find a location that works for you. There are important decisions to be made in the voting booth and it requires full participation from every voter.
I’m proud that Boston has taken a thoughtful approach to early voting. As citizens of a country founded on the idea that the government is formed by the people, we are afforded the opportunity to choose who represents us — a right we cannot take for granted. Creating the conditions that allow more people to participate in the process will make for a stronger City, state and nation.
Whether you plan to vote during the early voting period, or on Election Day, November 8, let your voice be heard. Every vote counts.
A full early voting schedule can be found at www.boston.gov/early-voting.
[Editor’s Note: See this post for more early voting information for North End / Waterfront and Downtown residents.]