Voters go to the polls early in Massachusetts for the first time

Massachusetts has adopted early voting, which this year began on October 24 and continues until November 4. Election Day is on Tuesday, November 8.

Ms. Jacqui Bloomberg, Latin teacher, went to vote early on October 26 because “the idea that I will be able vote whenever I wanted to on my own schedule was really appealing.” She added, “I have really strong feelings about this election, and given all of the publicity that has been out there, I wanted to be able to watch it and say I have done my part.”

According to Ms. Heather Panahi, Social Studies teacher, one of the biggest benefits of early voting is “to allow those people who perhaps because of their work schedule are unable to make it to the polling station on that one day that the election happens” to vote. She adds, “This gives people the opportunity then to go and vote at a different time.” For early voting, citizens can go to any neighborhood they want whereas they are required to go to their neighborhood on the Election Day.

Mr. William Galvin, 27th Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth, had anticipated “half a million voters to cast their votes before election day,” according to CBS Boston. In fact, CBS Boston reported that about “700,000 votes had been cast as of noon” on Wednesday, November 2 already, which exceeds the expectation of Mr. Galvin by thousands.

Some people have raised concerns about the security of early voting, but according to Ms. Bloomberg, early voting is a process that has “so many steps that have been taken to ensure the security of it that I trust that there is not going to be any problem.” You cast your vote, put it in an envelope with your signature on the back, and then put your envelope in a locked ballot box. The envelope will be opened on the actual election date, November 8.

Another question people sometimes raise is about changing one’s mind after voting early. “If you decide to vote early, then you are always taking a risk in that something in the next 11 days could happen that might have changed your vote, but I think most people have their minds made up at this point,” says Ms. Panahi. “For undecided voters, it make sense to wait, but for people who know what they want to do, I don’t think it hurts anything to go cast your ballot early.”

Ms. Bloomberg says, “I would definitely choose to do it again if again the election was as clear as this one was.”

Photograph: Long lines of voters waiting to cast their ballots outside of the public library in West Roxbury on Saturday, October 29, during early voting. Photo credit: Karen Keely.

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