As part of the Higher Education Amendment, Emerson College provides students with information on how to register to vote.
Registering to Vote in Massachusetts
NOTE: The information below is from the Massachusetts Secretary of State Elections Division website.
You may register to vote in Massachusetts if:
- You are a citizen of the United States; and
- You will be at least 18 years of age on or before the next election; and
- You are a resident of Massachusetts; and
- You are not currently incarcerated by reason of a felony conviction.
If you meet the above requirements, you may register to vote online, by mail, or in-person.
The deadline to register to vote in any election or regular town meeting is twenty (20) days prior to the date of the election or meeting. The deadline to register to vote in a special town meeting is ten (10) days prior to the special town meeting.
NOTE: For all 2020 elections, the deadline to register to vote will be 10 days before the date of the election.
In order to register to vote online, you must have a signature on file with the Registry of Motor Vehicles. If you currently have a Massachusetts driver's license or state ID card, you may use the online voter registration application to register, update your address, or change your party affiliation.
Voter registration forms submitted online must be submitted by midnight on the date of the voter registration deadline.
Registering by Mail
If you do not qualify to register to vote online, or if you would prefer to register by mail, you may download the voter registration form by using the link provided in the box to the right. The form must be completed, signed, and delivered to your local election official.
Voter registration forms submitted by mail must be postmarked no later than the voter registration deadline.
If you would like to register in-person, you may do so at any local election office, as well as the Elections Division of the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office. Voter registration is also available at the Registry of Motor Vehicles and at certain public assistance agencies.
Voter registration forms completed in-person are valid as of the day that they are signed.
Automatic Voter Registration
If you are a U.S. citizen applying for or renewing a driver's license or state ID at the RMV, or applying for health insurance through MassHealth or the Commonwealth Health Connector, you will be automatically registered to vote, unless you opt out of registering.
If you opt out of registering to vote, or if your citizenship has not been confirmed by the RMV, MassHealth, or the Health Connector, you will not be registered to vote. If you do not opt out and your citizenship is confirmed, your name, address, and date of birth will be sent to your local election official to be added to the voter list and you will receive mailed confirmation of your registration within 2–3 weeks.
Changing Your Address
You must update your voter registration every time you move. If you have moved, you may update your registration by filling out a new voter registration form. If you move after the deadline to register to vote in a state election or primary, you should wait to update your registration until after the date of the election or primary, and return to vote at your previous polling place in Massachusetts. State law allows you to vote from a previous address in a state election for up to six months after you have moved, as long as you have not registered elsewhere.
If you wish to change your party enrollment, you may do so by filling out a new voter registration form. Members of political parties may vote only in their own party's primary elections. Un-enrolled voters (commonly referred to as "Independents") and members of political designations or minor parties may vote in the party primary of their choice. Choosing to vote in a particular party's primary does NOT enroll you as a member of that party.
A full list of political parties and designations may be found here.
Massachusetts Identification Requirements
Certain voters must submit a copy of their identification with their voter registration or present it at their polling place on Election Day. For more information on identification requirements, please see our page on Identification Requirements.
Students from Out-of-State
Students from states other than Massachusetts are eligible to register to vote in Massachusetts, but the registration will be processed at Boston City Hall and will declare you as a permanent Boston, MA resident. This is important to remember, as it may affect out of state scholarship eligibility if you are required to be a resident of another state to maintain that scholarship.
We also have a couple of useful links to outside, non-partisan organizations to help you navigate the process.*
These guides offer information on registering and voting in all 50 states, breaking down myths of voting while in College, unbiased political party platforms, and information on why student votes matter.
* DISCLAIMER: Emerson College is not affiliated with either organization and only offers these links as helpful resources. The information contained on their pages are meant to be used as a general guide and should not be a substitution for consulting with government and state election official information.