Susan Millinger: Clarifying voting by mail

  • Vote-by-mail ballots are shown in U.S. Postal service sorting trays the King County Elections headquarters in Renton, Wash., south of Seattle. AP

Friday, November 13, 2020

I amwriting in hopes of clarifying for your readers an aspect of voting by mail which seems unclear in a number of otherwise useful sources of information, including the pamphlet the Secretary of the Commonwealth sends us, sometimes called “the Red Book.”

For those of us who requested ballots for both primary and general (November) elections when we submitted our application for a ballot this summer: we will be sent the ballot for November by our local election officials, who have saved that information.

If you visit www.TrackMyBallotMA.com, and fill out the required information, you will find that by the November ballot it reads “Pending.” This is meant to communicate that the ballot requested earlier will be sent to you without further effort on your part. My town clerk told me that she hoped to get the ballots out on the Oct. 5; the legislation requires they be sent out by Oct. 9.

All sources urge us to return our filled-out ballots as soon as we can; given the crush there will no doubt be at Post Office central distribution offices, it is a good idea to hand carry it, if you can, to a drop box if your municipality provides one.

You can find information about drop boxes online at www.sec.state.ma.us under Elections and Voting or at www.Vote411.org. You can also personally bring your ballot to your election office or to an early voting site during voting hours.

Susan Millinger


Written for the League of Women Voters, Amherst.