FAQ on Early and Absentee Voting (During COVID19)

FAQ on Early and Absentee Voting (During COVID19)

FAQ on Early and Absentee Voting (During COVID19)       May 2020

Thank you for your patience as the Town Clerk and others work to create a safe, efficient, fair, and inclusive procedure for voting in the Tuesday, June 9th Town Election.  This won’t be perfect, but with your help we will learn from it and make adjustments so that subsequent elections (the September 1st State Primary and the November 3rd General Election) can happen even more smoothly and safely.

For the safety of voters and election workers at our polling stations on June 9th, the town urges all registered voters in Brookline to ask for a mail-in ballot. The first question in this FAQ addresses how to do that.  We hope the other Q&As will answer the most common questions that have come up to date.

Q: How do I get a mail-in ballot for the Brookline June 9th election?

To get a mail-in ballot sent to you, you can print and fill out this form OR just write a letter to the Town Clerk with your name and address and request for an early mail-in ballot. In either case, you must physically sign (in pen) the request.  You can send it to the Town Clerk any of the following ways:

• Scan and Email it to townclerk@brooklinema.gov

• Fax it to the Town Clerk’s office at 617-730-2043

• Mail it to: Town Clerk’s Office, PO Box 470860, Brookline, MA 02447

Q: If I already sent in an Early Ballot request, do I need to complete an Absentee Ballot request as well?

Either an Early Ballot or and Absentee Ballot request will get you a ballot to vote by mail in the June 9th Town Election. You do not need to submit both.

Q: Is there a difference between an Early Ballot request and an Absentee Ballot request?

There are two differences. Either one lets you vote by mail on Tuesday, June 9th:

1)    Asking for an Early Ballot is faster, and it is easier to fill out. The request form for Early Voting just asks your name, address, date of birth (to distinguish between people in the same household with the same name, such as a Sr. and Jr.), and a physical signature (not electronic). You don’t even need to use the form: You can just send a letter (typed or handwritten) with your name and address and physical signature requesting an early ballot to be sent to you. The form to request an Absentee Ballot requires more information, including a declared reason for why you cannot vote in person. (Note: “Lack of safety because of COVID-19” is a valid reason.)

2)    The form to request an Absentee Ballot has a check-box on it to indicate you wish a ballot for ALL the elections in 2020, so it is a one-time request to vote by mail for the Town Election on June 9th, the State Primary on September 1st, and the General Election on November 3rd.  If you request an Early Ballot, you will have to submit a separate request prior to each election to receive a mail-in ballot.

Q: Why does the official Early Voting request ask for my date of birth?

Sometimes there are voters at an address with the same name (such as a Sr. and a Jr.). When the Town Clerk checks the voter rolls, both names might come up, so to understand who has asked for the mail-in ballot, they would check the birthdate. It is helpful information, but not required for you to receive an Early Ballot.

Q: When will I receive a ballot?

Physical ballots arrived at the Town Clerk’s office on May 7th, and it will be sending them out on a rolling basis.

Q: What is the latest date I can mail in my ballot? Does it get counted if it is postmarked on June 9th or does the town need to have it in hand by that day?

Ballots need to be received by the Town Clerk by June 9th. A postmark is not good enough, so please mail in ballots as early as possible.

Q: Can I still vote in person on Tuesday, June 9th?

Brookline will offer in-person voting on June 9th, but STRONGLY encourages voting by mail if you can to reduce the lines at the polls. If you have voted by mail, you do not need to go to the polls.

Q: How will Brookline make sure that it’s safe for voters and poll workers to be at the polls?

Everyone is encouraged to vote by mail so that we can limit the number of folks physically at the polls. Poll workers will be provided with gloves, masks and face shields. Plexiglass shields will be at pollworkers' tables. Voting booths will be spaced six feet apart and will be cleaned regularly. All voters will be required to wear masks and are encouraged to wear gloves. Distancing of 6 feet between all participants (voters and pollworkers) will be strictly enforced. Hand sanitizer will be available at all polling locations. Restrooms will NOT be available for voters.

Q: Where do I vote if I’m voting in person?

Voting locations for most precincts are the same, but Precincts 3, 7, 10, and 15 have been changed to move voting away from senior housing buildings and to reduce the number of locations.  Here is the new list of poll locations for Tuesday, June 9th. NEW precinct poll locations are bold and marked with an *asterisk.

Precinct 1:       BU-Wheelock College, 43 Hawes Street, (Monmouth Street Entrance)

Precinct 2:       Coolidge Corner Library, Community Room, 31 Pleasant Street

*Precinct 3:     Coolidge Corner School Gymnasium (Stedman Street Entrance)

Precinct 4:       Town Hall, Room 103, 333 Washington Street

Precinct 5:       The Lincoln School, 19 Kennard Road

Precinct 6:       BHS Schluntz Gymnasium, 115 Greenough Street

*Precinct 7:     BHS Schluntz Gymnasium, 115 Greenough Street

Precinct 8:       Coolidge Corner School Gymnasium (Stedman Street Entrance)

Precinct 9:       Senior Center, 93 Winchester Street

*Precinct 10:   BHS Schluntz Gymnasium, 115 Greenough Street

Precinct 11:     Driscoll School Gymnasium (Washington Street Entrance)

Precinct 12:     Runkle School Gymnasium, 50 Druce Street (Front Entrance)

Precinct 13:     Runkle School Gymnasium, 50 Druce Street (Front Entrance)

Precinct 14:     Heath School Gymnasium, 100 Eliot Street

*Precinct 15:   Baker School Cafeteria, 205 Beverly Road

Precinct 16:     Putterham Library, 959 West Roxbury Parkway


Q: I’m not sure what precinct I live in. How do I find out?

The Secretary of State has an easy-to-use online tool to find out your precinct. It is here: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/wheredoivotema/bal/myelectioninfo.aspx

Q: What’s on the June 9th ballot?

On June 9th, Brookline will vote for Select Board, School Committee, Trustees of the Public Library, Housing Authority, and Town Meeting Members. There are competitive races (more people running for a seat than there are seats to fill) for the Select Board and in several precincts for Town Meeting. You can see a full list of candidates for all the races here: https://www.brooklinema.gov/131/Town-Clerk

The Brookline League of Women Voters’ annual Voters Guide to the Town Election, with information about each candidate on the ballot, will be published in the Brookline TAB on May 21st.

Q: When will polls be open for those who want to vote in person?

On Tuesday, June 9th, POLLS WILL BE OPEN from 12 NOON until 8 PM. The Select Board voted this later-than-typical start time to ensure that safety measures for COVID-19 can be put in place for poll workers and voters.

Q: Does the Town need help at the polls?

YES, we will need more poll workers for the June 9th election. If you are a registered voter in Massachusetts and are able to work at the polls on Tuesday, June 9th, please contact the Brookline League of Women Voters (League@LWVBrookline.org or  617-566-3238) for more information on what’s involved.