Mover's Guide: Massachusetts

August 10, 2010

Elections Division:  800-462-8683

I moved from the address at which I am registered.  What should I do?

I moved from another state.

If you moved to Massachusetts from another state, you must register to vote in Massachusetts to be able to vote.[1]  The last day to register in time to vote in the next election is by 8 p.m. twenty days before the election.[2]

If you moved from out of state, you may register to vote the same day you become a resident of Massachusetts.  And, under federal law, if you move within 30 days of a presidential election, you are allowed to vote for President and Vice President in your former state of residence, either in person or by absentee ballot.[3]

I moved within Massachusetts.

If you moved within your city or town, you should make a written application to your city or town clerk to update your records.[4]  If you moved to a different city or town, you should complete a new registration form to update your registration records.[5]  That form is available here: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elestu/stuidx.htm

The election is right around the corner and I never updated my registration from my previous address.  What should I do?

If you moved within the state since you last voted, you should contact your local election office to determine whether your registration is current and to find out the location of your current polling place.  Election officials may have changed your registration records to reflect your new address even if you did not notify the election official about the move.[6]  If your registration information has been changed to your current address, you should go to the polling place associated with that address to vote.

Many registered Massachusetts voters who move are still entitled to cast a ballot that will be counted — even if they did not notify the appropriate election official about the move before Election Day.

Scenario One: New Address, but Same Polling Place

If you moved to a new address that is covered by the same polling place as your old address, you can vote a regular ballot at that polling place after confirming your change of address at the polling place. This is true regardless of how close to the election you moved.[7]

Scenario Two: New Address in Same City or Town but New Polling Place

If you moved to a new address that is in a different polling place within the same city or town, you can vote in the polling place associated with your old address.[8]

Scenario Three: New Address New City or Town

If you moved to a new address that is in a different city or town in the state, you can vote at the polling place associated with your old address for national and state officers for six months after the date on which you moved.[9]


[1] Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 51 § 1 (West 2010); see also 950 Mass. Code Regs. 57.02 (2010).

[2] Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 51 § 26.

[3] 42 U.S.C. § 1973aa-1(e) (2010).

[4] Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 51 § 3.

[5] Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 51 § 3; see also Massachusetts Secretary of State, Elections: How to Register to Vote, http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/eleifv/howreg.htm (last visited June 2, 2010). 

[6] Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 51 § 4.

[7] 42 U.S.C. § 1973gg-6(e)(1) (2010); see also 950 Mass. Code Regs. ch. 52.03(3) (2010).

[8] Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 51 § 3 (2010).

[9] Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 51, § 1.