Mayor Michelle Wu held a press conference on August 23 from the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA)—one of the city’s new polling locations—to provide information ahead of the upcoming Sept. 6 primary election.
Wu was joined by MFA Director Matthew Teitelbaum, who emphasized the importance of preparing for the election, especially with the Orange Line shutdown, which will impact the primary.
“Let me just say that we’re really thrilled to be a host for both today and for subsequent election polling stations at the museum,” Teitelbaum said. “Museums exist to be convening spaces for our community. They exist to allow our citizens to express themselves.”
Mayor Wu talked about the many options that are available to voters for the primary election, which include 16 new polling locations, early voting, and vote by mail.
“Last October, the City of Boston expanded voting precincts using the most up-to-date population data,” Wu said, “adjusting those lines for the first time in nearly a century. Because 20 new precincts were created, new polling locations were also created and were approved by the Board of Election Commissioner in July.
New locations include Beacon House in Ward 3, the Cyclorama in Wards 4 and 5, Fenway Center in Ward 3, the MFA in Ward 4, Old South Church in Ward 5, and Saint Joseph Parish in Ward 3, among others.
Wu said that early voting is available to residents and will begin on Saturday, August 27. Residents are not required to go to the early voting location closest to where they live; any resident can vote at any early voting location. Sites will be open on the weekend, and the schedule of open locations will vary day by day. Early voting locations by date can be found at boston.gov/departments/election/early-voting-boston.
Residents also have the option to vote by mail, and if they have not already received a mail-in ballot request form, they can find one at boston.gov/voting. The deadline to send in the mail-in ballot request form is Monday, August 29.
Once a mail-in ballot is received, it can either be mailed back to the City or dropped in one of the 21 ballot drop-boxes that have been placed across the city. Wu said that more than 12,000 mail-in ballots have already been received by the Election Department.
Lastly, residents have the option of voting in-person on September 6. Registered voters can find their polling location by entering their information at www.sec.state.ma.us/VoterRegistrationSearch/MyVoterRegStatus.aspx.
For residents who live or work along the Orange Line, Wu discussed travel options, which include the shuttle buses running from Forest Hills to Copley and from Government Center to Oak Grove, as well as the free 30-day Blue Bike passes, free commuter rail rides in Zones 1, 1A, and 2, and wheelchair-accessible vans that are available upon request.
“Voting in the City of Boston is now more accessible than it’s ever been,” said Eneida Tavares, the city’s Election Commissioner. “Voters now have over 30 opportunities to vote early in person at locations throughout every neighborhood in the city.”
Ballot drop boxes will be available at all early voting locations, and all drop boxes will remain available until 8pm on election day.
Tavares said that all ballots “must arrive at the Election Department or ballot drop box by 8pm on Tuesday, September 6.”
Tavares also discussed voter registration, which has been “shortened from 20 days to 10 days” prior to a state primary, making the new deadline August 27, the same day as the beginning of early voting. Residents are permitted to register to vote and cast their vote on the same day.
The Election Department is also seeking poll workers, especially with the addition of 20 new voting precincts, Tavares said. For more information and to sign up to be a poll worker, visit boston.gov/departments/election/how-apply-become-poll-worker. “Voting should be as easy as possible, and we hope that all of these new options just make it easier for more people to participate,” Tavares said.