Results of survey on voting experience

This post summarizes the results of our survey on voting experience for the September 1 primary . The data from this survey are imperfect in a number of ways, and the specific stories offered by voters show ways that the vote-by-mail system can go wrong, but the results do not suggest a pattern of malfunction in the postal service.

Overall, my takeaways are:

  • The vote-by-mail system worked pretty well over all, but it is more complicated than voting in person so there were a few problems of different flavors.
  • Voters should use the mail system, but they should always request ballots by mail as soon possible and then return the ballots as soon as possible. Mail delays are not a consistent problem, but they do happen and also clerical delays can occur.
  • Using drop boxes avoids any concern about mail delivery in returning a ballot.
  • It is wise to check and make sure your ballot has been accepted using the online system. Even if the systems works perfectly, it is possible that there could be a problem with your submission — for example, you forget to sign it.
  • Taking all these steps proactively assures that if there is a problem there is time to vote in person if necessary.

Survey Methods and Limitations

We sent an email on Thursday, September 10 to approximately 6300 registered voters in my senate district — Back Bay, Fenway, Allston, Brighton, Watertown, and Belmont. We ran into email delivery volume limits as the mail went out and approximately 1400 of the emails to Boston recipients were bounced by our email system. We did not resend the emails.

The recipients had all at some point corresponded with my senate office by email (supporting or opposing my positions or requesting assistance) and therefore may be considered to be a politically active subset of voters. They may have forwarded the survey to others. There were no tracking mechanisms included in the email so the results were anonymous.

We closed the survey in the evening of Friday, September 11. The total number of responses was 1339 — approximately 27%. Of those responses, 98% were from Boston, Watertown or Belmont.

The survey was written with the expectation that we would show only relevant questions and require responses to them. So, for example, if a person answered the first question and said they were not a registered voter, they would not be presented any further questions. However, it turned out that our form tool had bugs in its conditional logic, so we had to present all questions and make the responses optional. As a result, not all of the responses were complete and logically consistent. This further limited the volume of usable responses.

What mechanism did people use for voting?

In this sample, a majority of people voted by mail and did so at slightly higher rates in Belmont and Watertown than in Boston.

How Voted (Response count)BelmontBoston*WatertownTotal
Early in person283673137
By mail419164282865
On 9/1 in person 837285240
Tried to vote by mail had to vote in person9361762
TOTAL (Voters)5393084571304
*Boston responses limited by email delivery problem.
How voted (%)BelmontBoston*WatertownTotal
Early in person5%12%16%11%
By mail78%53%62%66%
On 9/1 in person15%23%19%18%
Tried to vote by mail had to vote in person2%12%4%5%
TOTAL (%)100%100%100%100%
*Boston responses limited by email delivery problem.

How long did by-mail voters wait for ballots?

The average time elapsed from ballot request sent to ballot received was a little over two weeks in all three communities.

Days elapsed from ballot request to receiptBelmontBoston*WatertownTotal
Count of respondents with complete data210135184529
Average days elapsed13.516.914.914.9
Data was considered complete for this table if respondents requested their ballot on or after July 13 and received their ballot before the date of the survey, September 10. * Boston responses limited by email delivery problem.

Certainly, date responses are imprecise — most people do not have a fully accurate memory of exact dates. However, an understandable pattern does emerge from the data: delays were longest during the early days of the response to the postcards sent by the Secretary of State. In mid-July, voters received post cards telling them how to request ballots. There was a surge in requests then which resulted in backlogs of work for elections staff — the assembly of vote-by-mail packets is very labor intensive. Offices staffed up to respond and then the peak passed by. By mid-August, the turnaround dropped dramatically. This pattern does not support a concern about mail delays. If delays were caused primarily by mail, one would expect them to be roughly the same through the whole period.

Week that ballot was requestedCount of respondentsDays elapsed from request to receipt of ballot
July 13 to July 198823.4
July 20 to July 266420.7
July 27 to August 2 14715.4
August 3 to August 910712.0
August 10 to August 16779.1
August 17 to August 23366.9
August 24 to August 26 (Weds)53.8

How did voter behavior affect delays?

The data in the preceding table show that many voters did not request ballots until mid August, but it is unclear when they got postcards from the Secretary of State. It is also unclear how much difference a swifter request would have made in terms of when they got their ballot back, since backlogs were longest at the start of the process.

It does appear that some voters did delay in returning ballot once they had them. Boston voters turned their ballots around more quickly, perhaps because they waited a little longer for them.

Days elapsed from ballot received to ballot returnedBelmontBoston*WatertownTotal
Count of respondents with complete data282119192593
Average days elapsed7.
Data was considered complete for this table if respondents received their ballot on or after July 13 and returned it by September 1. * Boston responses limited by email delivery problem.

How did return date affect success?

The survey asked people how they returned their ballot and whether they checked the online system to determine whether the ballot had been accepted by elections staff. This gave us a measure of whether mailed ballots were properly received.

Week that ballot was returned to clerk by mailCount respondents with complete data% of those who checked who saw that ballot was accepted
August 5 to August 112796.3%
August 12 to August 186295.1%
August 19 to August 256398.4%
August 26 to September 12696.1%
Data was considered complete for this table if the respondents returned their ballot by mail after August 5 and before September 1 and checked online to see if the return was successful.

The consistency of results across weeks suggests that mail delays were not a major factor in ballots not being accepted. If mail delays were a problem, one would expect to see the acceptance rate decline for later submissions.

Any number less than 100% is troubling, but there are many ways for the surveyed rate to be below 100% other than actual failures to record a mailed vote. There were only six in this sample who were unable to confirm their ballot had been accepted. None for them found that their ballots had been rejected for being late and only 2 found that their ballot had not been received. A finding that the ballot had not been received could reflect the time that the online check was made or it could reflect an error in using the check system or it could reflect an error in the clerk’s office in updating the check system. The other four out of six did not complete the checking process to a conclusion or did not respond to the question.

Voter Comments

147 comments were submitted while the survey was still outstanding. They appear immediately below. Some voters report specific problems that they experienced involving either mail or the balloting process, although many report a smooth experience. The comments highlight the additional complexity that voting by mail creates.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

167 replies on “Results of survey on voting experience”

  1. Thanks for the questions. I was nervous about mail-in because my husband received his ballot and mailed it a week before I received mine. In Watertown, there are many days for early voting in October. I plan to use early voting for the November election.

    1. My mail-in process worked fine but my wife’s did not. She did not receive a blank ballot in response to her request. She called the Town Clerk and we told it was sent out. After a week, still no ballot. A second call revealed that they had confused her record with mine and her ballot had not, in fact, been sent out. It was finally sent out, my wife received it, and voted by mail. Also, there was a discrepancy between her name as registered (full middle name) and the ballot (middle initial). She signed as her name is registered & we don’t know if there was an issue.

  2. I voted by mail and thought the whole experience was great. I was able to cast my ballot at a time that was easier for me (with a young child, this makes a huge difference) and didn’t need to risk being near others indoors (fear of COVID). I thought Watertown handled it very well. I was also able to check online to see if it was received, and it was. That was helpful and provided peace of mind.

  3. The process was very easy. I await my ballot for November 3 election, and will do same: walk it (early) to the secure ballot box at Town Hall, and follow up to see that its been received and recorded!!

  4. I left the dates blank because I just can’t remember. I guessed about the date I mailed it in — very approximate

    1. I received my ballot, voted and personally cast my ballot at the Town Clerk’s office. I later checked on line to check that my ballot was accepted and counted.. Painless experience.

  5. I voted in person and was pleasantly surprised that there was no line. I had heard there would be problems because of a shortage of poll workers, since most poll workers are elderly. My polling place was normally staffed and seemed to be running fine.

    1. I think the lines and poll worker shortages might be more of a problem in November. Relatively few eligible voters bother to go to the polls for primaries. Even in hotly contested presidential election years. Lots more get excited about the up-ballot contests in November. As a polemical aside: if every eligible voter and Independent were to vote in primaries and in general elections, our political landscape would look incredibly different. And far fewer negative comments about it would be heard. I know exactly how all you non-voters feel (I was one of you for a long time) and I sympathize deeply. But you’re making a fatal mistake by substituting passive non-cooperation for active demands for change. Just sayin’………………

      1. Agree! 1.7 million voted in the primary, which is a record. November 3rd could double that number.

  6. I too guessed at the dates I received the ballot and mailed in- as soon as I received the ballot I mailed it in the next day – I had to call Belmont City Hall to make sure the mail would deliver the ballot.
    I think the system needs to let us know we have voted rather than having to do all the checking ourselves.
    This was the first time I voted by mail and will be doing it too for the election in November. I’m hoping
    the ballot gets out as soon as possible so we can mail back in – and we get a notice it was received – otherwise this time I will definitely be checking that my ballot was received.
    I voted for Markey and you and Katherine Clark and Dave Rogers so happy you all got in !!
    Critical that the voting goes smoothly for the Nov. 3rd election – it seemed to go ok for
    September 1st – would like to get some feedback on how it went with the mail in process.

    1. I used the form that Galvin (I think) sent for requesting ballots. I did that immediately, got the ballot, filled it out immediately, and submitted it in the drop box at Town Hall weeks before September 1. I left dates blank on survey because I don’t now remember them. Process worked well for me, but I miss voting in person. In the Democratic Presidential primary, I voted early because I wanted to work for my candidate on election day — but my candidate withdrew just after I had already early voted. That was disappointing. It reinforces my desire to wait until election day to vote, especially in these days when it seems that anything can happen. But I have sent for another mail in ballot for the Presidential Election.

  7. Guessed at dates, did it all very early and thought it was a very well organized system. No telling what dismantling the USPS will mean for Nov.

  8. I repeatedly checked on MA’s “Track My Ballot” through the end of election day, and it only said “Pending .” Now, it is updated to show my ballot was accepted on 8/29, but it was very stressful on 9/1 not being able to confirm this at the time.

  9. I am opposed to voting by mail for any Federal election. This system is too fraught with deficiencies of security.
    Election days could be modified to be more accommodating but one’s physical presence is paramount for securing ire ties of the voting public. Regards…

  10. We also guessed at the dates, all the days are blurring together.

    I would add that voting by mail (although we dropped our ballots off at Town Hall) was great and I really hope we can continue having it as an option.

  11. I also guessed at the dates, but requested a mail-in ballot for all elections prior to the election before the primary. I received my ballot about a week after my partner who lives in Cambridge (02140).

    1. I received my mail-in ballot pretty early but took a while to decide on some of my votes. By the time I decided, it was too late to mail, so I was planning to drop the ballot off. But then I realized I would have to go all the way to Boston City Hall. I ended up voting in person in Brighton on 9/1 and it was very easy and efficient.

  12. looks like a lot of folks guessed at dates. I responded to a postcard and got my ballot early, but then forgot to fill it out until very close to 9/1, so my spouse brought his and mine and dropped at town hall I think. I had no idea one could confirm if the ballot was received and counted as you ask in the survey, and I couldn’t find this info on the town website either.

  13. In 40 years in Belmont I have always voted in person – no problems and no waiting.
    Voting by mail appears to be a solution in search of a problem – at least in Belmont.

  14. Both my roommate and I independently of each other requested mail-in ballots in mid-July, however neither of our ballots arrived. Upon calling the relevant office, it turned out our requests were never processed and no ballots were ever sent out. We ended up being able to vote in person instead. On election day, a number of people outside my polling station said the same thing had happened to them.

  15. I will only vote in person. I believe that election results from mail in ballots will not represent all of the voters. Someone I personally know got a ballot for their dog to vote. Tell me how that doesn’t set up our system for cheating, regardless of who wins. And I know this is not something at the local level, but we do not require ID checks when voting. Anyone could be me and vote especially if I were a person who is known a non voter, which I am not.

    Thanks for a place to comment.

    1. Ballots were only sent to registered voters who requested them. Please contact your town clerk’s office if you know that somebody has registered their dog as a voter.

  16. It took 10 days from when I mailed it to the clerk recording it. I will use the drop off box in front of town hall for Nov 3 election to remove the USPO out of the delay. On the day of the Primary I went in person to my voting area and verified that my vote had been recorded. Well at least MA isn’t like AL where reports of people waiting 8 hours in line to vote.

  17. I get the impression that many people don’t know that you can drop off the mail-in ballots, rather than relying on the (swamped and underfunded) USPS. I hope the dropoff box option, and locations, can be advertised more prominently.

  18. Big lesson from town election in June: mailing back my ballot from outside of Belmont–even from a location less than 50 miles away–was a failure. I got a letter that indicated it did not arrive in Belmont before the election and therefore my vote was not counted!

    Result: For the primary election, I made sure to put my ballot into the ballot box at town hall, early. If I have to mail a ballot again, I will do so at least 14 days before election day.

  19. It was a seamless process and I think the state did a great job – loved that we could check online that it was all received and processed. I also felt more comfortable dropping off at our local Dropbox so that was a great option.

  20. Thanks for the reminder about being able to confirm the vote was counted.
    The drop off option was handled really well – communication beforehand, and a very visible drop off at the Town Hall/Library. location.

  21. Could not remember specific dates. I did everything (request mail in ballot, drop ballot off at Town Clerk’s office) the earliest date possible. Hope it goes as smoothly for the Nov. election.

  22. I also guessed at the dates but the entire process was very easy. I had never done a mail in ballot before.

  23. I requested the ballot early and mailed it early. No problem. However, 3 people I know never received the ballot.

  24. People have risked and gave their lives to preserve my voting rights and the sanctity of the voting booth. I think I can run the minuscule risk of getting a cold by voting in person. Absentee ballots have always existed. Voting by mail should be restricted to only the identified high risk groups less we overwhelm the system and add more instability to 2020.

  25. My wife and I applied for mail-in ballots in late July or early
    August; she got hers promptly but I didn’t get mine at all. I called the town clerk and found that I hadn’t signed my application, so I went to the town hall, where the town clerk herself brought my application out to me to sign. I then promptly got my primary ballot by mail and voted by taking it to the drop box at town hall several days before the primary. I love the experience of going to my precinct to vote (I haven’t missed a primary or general election in fifty years), but in these Covid-19 circumstances am happy to to cast my vote by absentee ballot.

  26. I appreciated that the Town had a ballot drop box at Town Hall. I feel confident about the USPS but this provided another level of assurance that my vote was received.

  27. I downloaded forms, mailed them in and requested mail in ballots for my husband and myself. The ballots were received and we dropped the completed forms in the box at Belmont town hall. A few days/week later, I checked online and saw that my ballot was received. Another few days later, my husband received another ballot. I checked online for him and saw his was ‘rejected’. The new ballot had a note he had not signed properly so they rejected and sent a new ballot. So, make sure you fill your ballots out fully, drop them in the town box and check online ( to make sure it has been received!

  28. Ellen O’Brien Cushman, Belmont’s town clerk, sent me the link to check whether your ballot has been received, counted, etc. But that should be widely publicized, and it’s not.

  29. I mailed a mail in ballot request form on July 20 and sent follow up emails with copy of the form to on Aug 22 and Aug 31. I have not received a response. I also did not receive a ballot. Please tell me this will be corrected in time for the November 3 elections.

  30. Can you share with us how to check that our vote was received and counted? Also, how can I found out about how to help at polling stations on election day?

  31. I requested and received my mail in ballot quickly.

    I did not return it quickly.

    I looked online for a cut off date or guidance as to when it should be returned; I found nothing. So I voted in person. At the polls, one person was leaving as I arrived, otherwise it was me and the poll workers. They were excellent. They asked if I mailed in a vote, told me to destroy mail in ballot. They were helpful and friendly.

    With such high nationwide unemployment, finding sufficient poll workers shouldn’t be a problem. Unless the intent is to suppress the vote?

    The policeman working the polling place, who was hysterical, did say that the old poll workers had been replaced by younger workers (no they didn’t force out the older workers).

  32. To request a ballot, I returned the postcard I received from the Secretary of State. I received the ballot itself promptly.

    It was only by word of mouth that I found out that the town had a drive-up drop box for returning the ballot. I had checked the town clerk’s website but saw nothing there about drop off.

  33. Although I had completed and mailed in my request for a mail-in ballot the day after I received the paperwork for doing so, my ballot has still not arrived a few days before the primary. I decided to vote early in person, and felt very comfortable with the health protocols that had been put in place. I voted in the early morning, and saw only one other voter at that time.
    To this day, my ballot has not arrived – I had checked off both the State primary and the federal election on the request.
    I intend to vote early in person in November, as well.

  34. I went to drop off my request for a mail-in ballot on August 26th. The officials told me that although I was submitting it on time, they did not have much confidence that I would receive my ballot on time. So, they suggested I vote early in the primary (I was at City Hall anyway) and submit the mail-in request for the general election only which is what I did.

  35. My ballot was mailed to me on August 13, according the ballot tracking website. I received it on August 24. That’s eleven days. Totally unacceptable. Once I filled it out I returned it to the town clerk’s office on August 26. I have little faith in the timeliness of mail delivery.

  36. I will follow the same procedures for November voting. The only hitch was that Camb Election Commission delivered the wrong ballot to a friend (for whom I caretake). The ballot was not for his political party! not his candidates! when I called the election commission they swiftly hand-delivered the correct ballot and took away the wrong party ballot. That will not occur in November. Overall as I was shepherding two elders, my friend and I, voting by mail was a blessing. I deposited both completed ballots in the drop box at the Election Commission. A good run in anticipation of November’s voting.

  37. Needed to be out of state to help family. Ballot wasn’t mailed to out-of-state address per my emailed application; it was sent to my home address while I was away, so I was unable to vote in primary. While out of town, I contacted the town office regarding the status of the ballot and was told the ballot had been mailed to the requested address. When I got home, the ballot was with my held mail.

  38. I voted early at the Town Hall and it was very seamless. I was going to vote by mail by changed my mind. While the voting process is not fraught with fraud as numerous studies left, center and right have found (see the Heritage Foundation study which found 1300 cases of misdoings out of 600 million, .000217%) I became hesitant after the deliberate mail slow down on the part of the PostMaster General. I will either vote early or vote on election day for the General. Perhaps the answer is to expand the period of early voting as it would reduce crowds and prevent delays caused by an agency’s attempt to thwart voting.
    One more thing to note about the voting process. There needs to be more detail outside of polling places. At the Watertown Middle School, there was a Shiva supporter who was blocking access to entrances with his car and even illegally parked on the crosswalk. The custodian had to had to repeatedly tell him to stop doing that. He only stopped coming back when 3 police cars arrived on the scene. Preventing voter intimidation, misinformation and disinformation is key to protecting the process regardless of ballot casting method.

  39. I had a very easy time of voting by mail. Several have, for quite a while, conducted all their elections this way and Massachusetts should make mail balloting permanent and join them.

    1. Agree! Other states have been doing this for decades, and no significant problems have been reported. Oregon’s process has enfranchised thousands of rural residents.

  40. The vote by mail system worked for me. I chose to drop off my ballot because of the post office issues. My only suggestion would be that the drop box be clearly marked that it accepts ballots. It only said “All business with the Town Clerk” and I used it but wondered if it was the correct box. I emailed the Town Clerk when the ballot was late in getting processed (according to online source) and she graciously wrote back to say they were dealing with new ballot requests first and would get to recording received ballots after that was done. The following week it showed up as processed.

  41. Vote by mail worked flawlessly for me for both the June Belmont elections and the September primary elections. Both my partner and I signed up for vote by mail for all elections this year. For the primary though, only my ballot arrived which I dropped off easily at the box in front of Town Hall. When she went to vote in person because her ballot hadn’t arrived at the house, there was some delay as the poll workers needed to confirm that her mail ballot hadn’t been returned. She was able to vote with no problem after that. We’re still not sure why only my ballot arrived for this election. Hoping for a better outcome with the November ballots!

  42. We mailed our ballots from southern VT (a distance of 3 hours by car) on August 10. It took 14 days for our ballots to be received and counted. This is absurd. We will not vote by mail in November; instead, we plan to vote early and drop the ballots in a drop box. The USPS needs help!

  43. We requested ballots as soon as the forms required. I was delayed in getting the ballot, because the Clerk’s office misfiled it — I contacted them, and they replied right away, and sent it right out. We’ll drop off mail-in ballots again for the general election.

    We used the website of the Secretary of the Commonwealth to track our ballots, and that worked well.

    I have full faith in the Belmont Town Clerk’s office. They seemed to be counting mail-in ballots before Election Day (in a 1st floor conference room, with the windows open for observation), which is a good idea.

  44. My wife and I put our ballots in the Watertown drop box so assumed it would be counted. That is why we didn’t check on line.

  45. Ballot was mailed from Town Hall on Main St, directly across the street from the Post Office. From there it took 11 DAYS ! after the postmark to travel 8 blocks to my home. With all the screw ups foisted upon the USPS by the a**h*** in the White House and his SICKOphant minions and the consequent delivery delays, I am deathly afraid of not receiving my mail order prescriptions on time in order to prevent risk of death.

  46. I was relieved to get confirmation that my ballot was received. I dropped it in the town business mail drop next to the library book drop, but was uneasy because at that time it was not marked for receiving votes, nor was the book drop marked for votes. Even now, there is some controversy abt the legitimacy of using those boxes as not sure if they are really secure, and also, if the book drop is still taking books, can’t the ballots get lost in the shuffle? If the smaller mail box is still used for all town business, can we trust the sorting process after we pop it in the box? “Chain of custody” seems to be on the overly loose side… Can those boxes be “tightened up” for the Nov election? By the way, it was only via Senator Brownsberger’s emails that I ever learned about the ballot drop off availability at the library book drop location (much appreciated).

  47. We all requested mail-in ballots before the Belmont town election in June, and we requested them for all future elections. So far, so good! We have received two sets of ballots (Belmont, MA primary) in a timely fashion. The first set was mailed in, the second was deposited in the town ballot collection box. The instructions are clear, and the process is smooth. I did not think to check whether the ballots were received, but I will do that in the future.

  48. I voted in person at my polling place. I would not mail it just as I would not mail an important Lottery winning ticket either. When I am physically unable to vote in person (I’m now 81)) I will request an Absentee Ballot. Secret Ballots are the only way to go.

    1. As a still wet behind the ears 73 year old, I congratulate you. I wish more younger people were as diligent. Also more middle aged folks. They don’t bother to vote and then they spend years after election day, complaining about government! I think Australia has the correct attitude: election day rolls around and all eligible
      Australians go to the polls and vote. If they don’t, they’re automatically in trouble with the law. They can mark their ballot any way they want, presumably even vote for themselves if they wish, but they are required by law to go to the voting place and vote. I’d like to see that system instituted here.

    2. Vote by mail is absentee ballot voting. The only difference is that one requires an excuse and the other does not.

  49. Getting ballot in mail quick& efficient. Once I marked ballot was nervous about leaving it in my mailbox in case mail guy misplaced it or didn’t send it on. Didn’t trust so I drove to main post office & dropped it mailbox there. Then thought about whether it would actually be counted in time -since it was a big deal between Markey & Kennedy. I’ve been isolating at home since March so this was major to stay safe-health wise. I’ve never voted by mail before. I still wonder if anyone looked at my vote in time to matter. I’m 69 & never missed an election
    Or vote-even the minor ones. This was better than nothing but I’m not sure how it translates on other end. Thank you for asking.

  50. I guessed at the dates, but we requested ballots for the remainder of the year early on and had already voted by “mail” in an election prior to the September 1 primary. We got our primary ballots and promptly voted and dropped them into the drop box. Then as the primary date got closer I began to worry that we didn’t have our ballots, having forgotten that we already voted. I emailed the town clerk to see when they were going to send them and received a reply saying the Town Clerk has received our ballots already. I’m still waiting for the poll police to show up with cuffs for my attempt to vote twice???.

  51. I an sheltering in Columbia County, NY, just over the border from Great Barrington. Our rural mail service seems stressed, but coping. I requested a ballot early, returned it early, checked it received. Luckily Mass and NY have Covid reciprocity and I can freely cross the border. I feel bad for the suffering millions following the President’s example of pandemic denial.

  52. I voted by mail because I do not observe enough regard for COVID safety when I’m out in public to relish going to an in-person voting location. It took about 10 days to 2 weeks for my ballot to arrive after mailing in my request, and in the meantime all the higher attention to USPS issues surfaced. I drove my ballot to the post office at South Station and watched a representative postmark it about 5 days before election day, which is later than I had intended to leave it in light of the news feed. I checked online the night before Election Day and found that my ballot had been received and accepted as of 2 days after I’d mailed it, which has given me reassurance that it’s ok to vote by mail again for November. I will not leave it nearly as long this time, though, just to be sure!

    The online tracking system only said that my ballot had been “accepted.” I would have preferred for the wording to say “counted” to be absolutely sure, especially after seeing what happened in a few towns with ballots being forgotten about that had been received early, but I will give the election officials the benefit of the doubt that they counted it too.

  53. According to the Town Clerk our ballots were mailed on Aug. 7, but we never received them, so we voted in person early at the Town Hall.

  54. I voted in person and it was the same experience as I have always had. No lines, quick and easy voting, and friendly workers. I know a lot of people who suggested I get a mail-in ballot and drop it off at the drop off box, but for me that takes longer than walking a few blocks to my poll location. I like that we have options.

  55. I was originally going to vote by mail. I requested a mail ballot about a month before the primary, and received it about two weeks before the primary. However, after all the news about the post office and the court decision that ballots had to be received not just postmarked by Election Day, I was concerned about trying to Vote by mail in November. So I went to the Watertown town clerks office and turned in my mail ballot and asked to have my name taken off the list to receive a mail ballot for the November election. I voted in person early for the primary and plan to do the same in November. By the way, the town clerk’s office in Watertown seems to be doing a great job in handling all of this.

  56. Mail in voting should not be allowed. That is what an absentee ballot is for. Mail is always being delivered to the wrong house and I have informed delivery. In person cuts down on voter fraud and you should have to produce a photo ID.

    1. Vote by mail is an absentee ballot. The difference is that one requires an excuse and the other does not. There is no fraud as pointed out by the findings in the Heritage Foundation, a very conservative think tank and by the Republican Senator from Kansas who was commissioned by this administration to conduct a voting study. Given these facts, there is no need for photo id other than to disenfranchise groups of American citizens.

  57. Thanks for the follow-up Will. Bruce and I requested mail in ballots around August 6. He received his properly; I did not receive mine until August 26. The website said the ballots had been mailed on August 13th. I brought his ballot to Town Hall on the 22nd and I voted in person. I also checkEd to see that both ballots were accepted. The mail definitely presents a few hiccups.
    And Will, you do us proud!

  58. I have feedback on your questions and clarifying my answers — that do not need publication. I didn’t, and most won’t, keep records of dates of request, receipt, and mailing of ballots. I neither did nor couldn’t confirm tabulation but didn’t bother trying (not an option in your multiple choices) because putting my ballot in the Town Clerk’s lock box in back of Town Hall (also not an option in your multiple choices) seemed secure enough. (Providing needed options and not making clear that information that few will record is not needed seems in order.)

  59. I voted in person and it was fine. There was no line at it was fast and easy, it was very well staffed and run. I thought it was interesting that the address check before submitted the ballot has been removed from the process.

  60. I requested a mail in ballot. I checked the website and it said it was mailed. I never received it. I went and did early voting the week before the election. I never received the requested ballot. I hope I do for Nov. I requested for both elections.

  61. I feel that we are VERY LUCKY that voting in Watertown is easy. I’ve never had a problem with going in early, on my way to work, and voting. I am not against the idea of voting by mail, and probably, like a lot of other things we’ve had to endure this year, it is a system which should have been updated and shifted in this direction long ago such that it would not be a problem now when we need it most.
    I AM concerned with all this “my dog got a ballot” stuff (HOW does this happen?) but I am more concerned with other neighbourhoods throughout this country that face hours-long lines because of disinformation, confusion, lack of planning, new voting machines that fail and have voting staff who don’t know how to run or fix them, shutting down of voting places because they are otherwise staffed by retired people who are in fear of their LIVES because of COVID-19 and a government that doesn’t care and thus force people to go well out of their way and overwhelm the few places left open. Is that REALLY the sign of “great” America? Yes, WE in this area are in good shape when voting but there is no reason it shouldn’t be that way everywhere in America. I know that some will feel just the opposite, but I believe we should always be making it easier for people to vote, not more difficult.
    As for the voting-by-mail system, it seems to me that it must have an excessive cost: A) Letter asking if you want to vote by mail (postage), B) you reply yes (more postage), C) Ballot is sent (even more postage) and D) you mail in your completed Ballot (even more additional postage). Can’t one or two of the steps be substituted with email in the future for those who want and can do it? If we really want it, I’m sure the government can somehow come up with a system which is it secured against fraud; what century is this again?

  62. I don’t remember when I requested a ballot or received it. It felt like there was plenty of time for both.

  63. It took 4 days from the day the Town Clerk mailed the ballot to the day I received it in town a mile away. I will try to avoid using USPS for the Nov ballot.

  64. I had arranged with the PO to have my mail forwarded to an address in Maine where I was staying. My husband received his ballot in the mail 8/27. I contacted Belmont’s Town Clerk office and learned that the PO sent my ballot back to them as “person not at address” rather than forwarding it to me. The TC spoke to the PO and instructed them to send it to my forwarding address. I have yet to receive it. On 9/1 I drove back to Belmont to vote in person and drop my husband’s ballot in the TC’s drop box. I will be voting early in the November general election to avoid a repeat. Belmont’s TC office was fantastic throughout the process.

  65. I requested all my ballots back in June, using the “all elections for the year” option. It has been great and I would love to have that option for the future, too.

  66. I mailed my ballot from the Brighton post office on Thursday, August 13. It was not recorded in Boston City Hall until the following Thursday, August 20. This was very concerning to me and my neighbors. It should not take a full week for a ballot to travel a miles. I plan on using the dropbox at Boston City Hall for the November election.

  67. I had hand surgery in late August & my hand/arm will be in a cast for 6 weeks. I very much appreciated being able to do mail-in voting. Thank you, Will, for all you do for us, including your follow-up surveys.

  68. Hi, my application for a mail-in ballot was apparently never received so I had to vote in person for the September election. Emails to the both the secretary’s office and my election office to try and follow up on my application and subsequently request a ballot for the general election in November have not been returned. I really appreciate the state’s commitment to mail-in voting but I am concerned about receiving my ballot in time for the general election.

  69. I love voting in person on the day of… however I asked for mail in ballots for both elections this year. I was really happy to read your post telling us how we could check to see if our ballot was accepted. I always appreciate what you do for us, Will. Many thanks.

  70. I was very pleased with the various options for voting in Watertown. Even though I had requested the mail-in ballots and had received them, I eventually decided that I would use the Early Voting In-Person option at the Town Hall. It seemed to be very well organized when I went there to vote during the week before the Primary. I plan on using the same option for the Nov. Election.

  71. I did not like the process and I think it needs a great deal of study to be improved going forward. I requested a ballot on August 7th. I still hadn’t received one by the time early voting started, so I voted early in-person on August 22nd. I chose to vote early because there was no ability to track the status of my ballot on the website other than saying it had been mailed on August 10th, so I assumed it might have gotten lost, since it shouldn’t take 12 days to make it to my house. When I went to BPL Copley, I was surprised that I had to show ID and sign a waiver since I had requested a ballot (that I had not yet received) but was voting in person. My ballot wound up arriving on August 30th (i.e. the Saturday before the election). If I would have waited for the ballot, there is no way it could have been mailed back on time. I also think the city of Boston should have had more dropbox locations for people who, like me, received ballots late, but unlike me didn’t want to vote in person.

  72. I returned my ballot within 2 days of receiving it to the Town Hall drop box. I checked on the status of my ballot on the Secretary of State’s website several times and it always indicated that it had not been returned. I called the Town Clerk’s office to inquire whether there was a problem and was told not to worry. But just checked The Sec of State’s website and it still says “not returned.” What is going on here??

  73. Watertown
    I was surprised at the reaction of some who posted on a Watertown Facebook account. They were unable to accept the vote by mail. It was so easy for me because I was able to check online that my ballot was accepted.

  74. I voted early at Boston City Hall. The process was well organized and efficient. The poll workers were all pleasant and helpful leading voters through the maze. My main concern is that the waiting line started outdoors. Fine on the sunny day I voted but turnout may be less in inclement weather.

  75. The process worked very well. I received both the ballot for town elections in the spring and for the primary in a timely way. My one minor suggestion is that a sign be placed on the box in front of the Belmont Town Clerk’s office saying “place ballots here”. At least three people mentioned to me that it wasn’t clear where the ballots should go. There is a box for American flags as you first turn into the driveway and some people were confused as to which was the appropriate box. I put my ballot in the gray box but I called the Clerk’s office from my car to confirm that it was the appropriate place to put the ballot. I tracked my ballot on the Secretary of State’s site and that worked perfectly. Thank you to all for making our election process in Massachusetts easy and efficient and allowing all people to have their say.

  76. I sent in my ballot request as soon as I received the postcard. It took quite a few weeks to get the ballot and it was too close to the election date to trust the mail, so I used a drop box. The glue on the brown envelope did not work—I had to buy a glue stick.

  77. I can’t really recall the dates accurately. I requested a mail in ballot shortly after receiving the post card to use. I got my ballot in the mail within 5 days of returning the request card to the town clerk. I filled it out the same day and returned it to the town clerk drop box two days later, on or about Aug 19. Simple, painless, quick. My family members did the same. Normally I go to vote during early voting hours, which is also simple and quick.

  78. I requested a mail-in ballot because I wanted to try it out, but then decided to vote in person instead. I voted early (also something I hadn’t done before and wanted to try out), and i learned that it was essentially the same as filling out the mail-in ballot I got at home, complete with outer envelope and all. I requested a mail-in ballot for the general election, but plan to return it in person to town hall versus put it in a dropbox, just to be sure it is received.

  79. Will,
    I don’t remember the date, but I requested my ballot very early. It took 13 days from the date it was sent to reach me. I voted and immediately returned it, and it was accepted two days later.
    I was concerned that our temporary polling place, Matthews Arena at Northeastern, would be crowded and pose COVID risk.
    Mary F.

  80. I sent in the request for a ballot. The general election was registered, the primary was not even though they were on the same form. I called, she said she would follow up but did not. I voted at the Copley library which was quick and easy but they were very confused about whether to let me vote. The website does say my vote was recorded.

  81. I was reluctant to vote by mail so I voted in person on 9/1. I felt safe and it was very efficient. I was in/out of the polling station within 5 mins. Safety protocols and hand-sanitizing efforts were very good.

  82. Excellent survey; take-away from this is that I will now record dates that pertain to activity relating to mail-in ballots and perform follow up. Question: How does one do follow up? What I do not want to happen is for ballots to be mailed that ARE NOT ASKED FOR. Unsolicited ballots are an open door for FRAUD.

  83. I am a senior with walking issues. I received my ballot one week before the primary after mailing my application several weeks before. I mailed my ballot on 8-24 worried about whether it would get there on time, which it did. Based on this experience I’m very concerned about when I will receive my ballot for Nov 3. It would be difficult for me to vote in person due to standing in line.

  84. We’ve been returning to Boston once/month from COVID isolating in Maine. Requested forms to VBM by phone to Boston City Hall in June. We returned requests in July. Back in Boston on Aug-20. Since hadn’t rec’d ballots, we voted Aug-22, the first day of early voting in Boston. When returned home and got that day’s mail, ballots were there (and tossed, of course)!!
    Voting early experience: we got there shortly after 11 AM opening. Wait line was orderly & socially distanced, was a little more chaotic inside as polling places will be. But we cast our ballots w/out a problem by showing ID. I think City Hall was, simply & understandably, overwhelmed by the COVID mess. Hope all is more organized for the General Election!

  85. I was going to email you about this. I applied for ballots right away. Mine came my husband’s didn’t. We both voted at Town Hall. May mailed ballot had the wrong name (for Watertown I think rather than Belmont) When my husband’s finally came his ballot had wrong names too. ??!! Lucky we went in person.

  86. First time we ever voted by any form of mail, but to be honest, there wasn’t that much to vote for since only two had an opponent. We will vote in person in November since this mail-in idea for a national election will be an enormous mistake. Regardless of who wins, the other side will claim fraud and they will both be right. Already we have seen it with people voting twice in other cities.

    1. You should read the Heritage Foundation report. 1300 cases with problems out of 600 million votes that is less the 1%. Many state use this method for their primary and the general. Utah, which is redder than Massachusetts is blue, has been using this method for years. I wonder why Utah has not been brought as having potential fraud issues.

  87. I voted , by mail, as soon as I received my ballot. I thought there was confusion in Watertown about what dropbox to use that would be located outside (v. inside a building) ; so, I used the mailbox at the main post office. I figured we should give the post office practice. The old way of voting in person on one day is antiquated.

  88. There was not enough time between when ballots were received and when they were dues. I mailed it right away, but was worried if it would be received. There should be drop boxes near every polling place in Boston.

  89. As an election worker, I was at the polling place anyway, so voted in person on Election Day (in foreign territory, across the district boundary in Arlington.)

    While working on Election Day and at in-person early voting, I heard and dealt with quite a bit of voter angst and confusion re mail-in voting: people who thought that, since they’d received a mail-in ballot, they couldn’t vote in person even if they hadn’t returned the mail-in ballot; people who didn’t know about the ballot return drop boxes (Arlington had three) despite pre-election publicity; even one voter who came in, unused ballot-request postcard in hand, thinking that had to be turned in before being allowed to vote in person (not true); etc. etc.

    – Voters seem to like the pre-election-day submit-your-ballot-in-an-envelope voting options: absentee, mail-in, drop box, early-in-person. These should be made permanent. The precinct I worked at the primary logged 70% of its votes from envelopes, only 30% of its votes in-person.
    – More and simpler publicity about mail-in voting procedures is needed to allay voter confusion.
    – The statutory deadline for requesting a ballot by mail is way too close to Election Day for the postal service to do the round trip ballot delivery and return in time.
    – Secure ballot drop boxes should be required, not optional, for cities and towns, with multiple drop boxes required in larger communities, based on population, number of registered voters, and/or land area. I think Boston only had one!

    1. Thanks for your summary. It is actually good to get some observations from someone who actually worked the polls, and sees the process up-close. Anecdotes and conjectures of fraud have no place in the process except to undermine it. Thank you for your service and making it possible for Americans to exercise this crucial right to keep democracy going.

  90. Please note, I am guessing as to when I requested the ballot and when I received. I did not keep track of that. I mailed it back pretty quickly after I received it. I was able to confirm the ballot was received.

  91. I got a notification via Mr. Galvin’s office weeks before Sept. 1st. I filled it in and after a few more weeks got my ballot mailed to be. The ballot was for the Green party and had no candidates names on it. I wanted to vote in the Markey-Kennedy contest so I didn’t fill out or mail that ballot. I waited for Sept 1st and voted in person. No problem. But I noticed they had me registered there as a Democrat. So why did the Secretary of State’s office mail me a Green party ballot? Technically I suppose it would have been possible to write in several names on that ballot. But the spaces provided for write-ins were miniscule. And I don’t know if write ins extending outside the allowed spaces would be accepted. Anyway I would have needed to do some research to learn who was running for which offices, since none of that info was given on the Green ballot. Just seems strange to me.
    Green party ballot?

  92. I had asked for an absentee ballot for all elections this year and got my ballot for the primary shortly after the ballots were available to the Boston Elections Department. I filled it out and and mailed it in immediately. I was subsequently pleased to learn that one can confirm a ballot’s receipt on-line via the Elections Division at the Secretary of State’s website, under “Track my Ballot.” Great option, great system, and no threat of fraud – despite messaging to the contrary.

  93. I handed my ballot application directly to the letter carrier. The application was never processed so I had to vote in person. I don’t know why it wasn’t processed.

  94. I never received the post card to fill out requesting a mail in ballot. I was perfectly happy to vote in person early at Watertown town hall. I would also feel comfortable voting at my polling place.

  95. I voted early on 8/23/20 at BPL. Rcvd ballot day before on 8/22/20 & brought it with me, unopened, to the poll. I told poll worker that I had my unopened ballot with me & he looked me up on a printout which I assume was a listing of everyone in Boston who had requested & rcvd a ballot & he crossed me off the list. Then I voted in person.

  96. I am always horrified that no one looks at my ID. I feel i can choose any street and number and vote illegally in Belmont. I think we should be like every other country and show valid ID (papers) to vote. I can not accept any results from any election that uses mail-in ballots.

    1. You should not be horrified. You should gets some facts. There are numerous studies out there that dispute the idea of voter fraud. You can self a source from the right, center or left. Additionally, most Secretaries of State in Red and Blue state dispute this fallacy. In 2018, the KS Senator, commissioned by the president found a insignificant number which coobroated what most experts will tell you which is voter fraud on the part of an individual is irrational. It only makes sense in a coordinated effort where a group on behalf of a campaign steals or replaces the ballot box. The KS Senator found some cases, however, it often occur when a retired male couldn’t remember if he registered in the of his primary residence or in the state of his secondary residence. Do read up on the facts. It is irresponsible to put this misinformation out there. If it is intentional, then it is cheating.

  97. The issue for us was mail delivery on Martha’s Vineyard. Our mail service is substandard with mail being misdelivered on not at all. It took two weeks for our ballots to be received. The Boston Elections office knew when I telephoned when they had mailed them and we had to repeatedly ask our mail carriers to look out for them.
    In 60 years of voting I have only missed voting in a primary once and that is the time that a candidate I did not support got the nomination for Governor’s Council by less than 10 votes! Votes in primary elections REALLY count.

  98. We voted early at Town Hall in Watertown and it was easy and quick – well organized and social distancing was enforced.

  99. We guessed at our request/arrival dates as we were doing it around a vacation (and mail holds) but the ballots arrived in plenty of time, and we dropped them in the ballot box. For the Nov election we will probably either do the same or just do early voting in Watertown.

  100. Your email to those of us in Watertown, complete with photo, was helpful to know exactly where I could drop my ballot other than the PO

  101. I too guessed at the dates but know that it was easily within a week of sending in the request. The Town Clerk’s Office was right on top of things,. I worked the polls for early voting and for in-person voting on September 1. Once again the Town Clerk’s staff did a fabulous job keeping workers and voters safe. Belmont is a good and safe place to vote. Plexiglass shields, masks, gloves, social distancing, disinfectant and hand sanitizer all in evidence and used .

  102. We only get mail delivery or pickup maybe 2-3 days a week now, and it’s totally unreliable. It took about a month to get a mail-in ballot, and we did not feel it made sense to return it by mail. Watertown was WONDERFUL about having times available to drop off a mail-in ballot or vote in person early. I was very proud of my town!

  103. I dropped off the vote-by-mail request forms at the Watertown Town Hall payment box pretty early. My son and my husband received their ballots in about 3 weeks. I never received one. I have a different last name, further down the alphabet, so thought it would just be another few days but mine never arrived. I voted early in person, and didn’t check online to see what the status of the mail-in ballot was. I dropped off their ballots at the Town Clerk’s Office when I went to vote, but we didn’t check online to see the status of their ballots either.

  104. I requested, received my mail-in ballot in time for voting Sept 1. However, I wanted to deliver it personally so I dropped it in the dropbox during earlier on the day of voting (Sept. 1). However, upon checking the site to see if my ballot was counted, it said it was rejected with no reason why. Copied from site: 2020 Early voting ballot tracking details:
    Election Description Ballot Mailed Ballot Received Status
    9/1/2020 State Primary First: 8/26/2020 9/1/2020 Rejected
    11/3/2020 State Election Pending
    Ballot data is provided by your local election officials and is updated on this website every other hour. The last update was completed on Thursday, September 10, 2020 4:26 PM. If you have any questions, please contact your local election officials directly.
    Your city or town clerk is:
    WATERTOWN, MA 02472
    Phone: 617-972-6486 Email address:
    Fax: 617-972-6595 Website:

  105. Omitted dates because I don’t remember. At time of early voting, had not received ballot; went to early voting site.
    Don’t recall if or when I received ballot in mail. Had returned my request for a ballot within three days of receiving the form.

  106. I had a terrible experience with Early Voting at the Jackson Mann school in Brighton. Because I had requested a mail-in ballot some months earlier (at that point I hadn’t yet decided by what means I would vote) I was sent to a special “clerk’s desk” (very slow line there). When I asked one of the workers why this was necessary I was told “because you can’t vote twice” (duhh). At the clerk’s desk I was given a form to fill out and then the clerk tried to look me up on the basis of my name and address. She couldn’t find me despite my having voted in every primary and general election since I moved to Brighton in 2004. I finally got a “special” ballot after a lot of waiting and being sent back and forth to two different desks. When I went to fill in the ballot I was amazed to find that some candidate names that were supposed to be on it were not, and some were on it for whom I was not eligible to vote based on my ward and precinct. At that point I was so tired and confused I didn’t ask about. As soon as I cast my ballot and met my husband waiting outside (he too had had to got through the same process but they HAD found his name and address) and indicated the strangeness of the ballot he said HIS ballot had all the correct candidate names. Then I realized that I’d somehow been given a ballot for a different district. I called the City Election Dept. once I got home and finally got someone in an elevated position (didn’t get his name). He had access to all the information at Jackson Mann and said the clerk had indicated my address as “Chestnut St” in JP instead of Chestnut Hill Ave. in Brighton. So I had been given a ballot for JP. I asked if this invalidated my ballot. Much to my amazement he said no, he would look for my ballot and pluck it out and open the yellow envelope and record my votes for those candidates I’d been eligible to vote for and disregard the rest. I was both relieved (I was most interested in my vote for Senator to count) and also shocked that he could do that. What happened to voter anonymity? Well, you can’t make this stuff up. My husband and I have decided we’ll go to the polls for the General Election come hell or high water. We can’t afford any errors on that one!

    1. Sorry to hear this but thanks for reporting your experience. You bring up a very good point about anonymity. I really want to change the laws about poll watchers. I do not tend to shout out my information in a public place like a restaurant or at a CVS pharmacy, especially when people are behind me. I often say my info in a low voice, and the person waiting on me always hears it. I do this at my polling place too. In 2002 during the Gubernatorial race a poll watcher who was behind the intake person asked her to repeat my info. In what universe is that not a violation of privacy? I will be looking into this for future election?

  107. It did go smoothly, and I was unaware until early August about mail-in-voting. I confirmed with the town that they received my application and used the state site to see that the ballot was accepted.

    Some comments:
    – I could not find on the town site information about how to confirm that my application was received and that the ballot was accepted, though maybe that information was there.
    – On the state site, under voter resources, which I found to be quite useful, it is too easy to find out a voter’s information. There needs to be a means to keep it private.

    Thank you

  108. Some of the dates I entered in the survey were just guesses. But I did keep track of the time from mailing to showing up online: I mailed the ballot on August 12, and it is shown online as having been received on August 17. There may have been additional delay before the received date actually showed up online – I don’t know because I wasn’t checked very often. Overall, the online tracking gives me a good feeling about the integrity of the mail-in voting process.

  109. Don’t recall the dates, but requested within a day of arrival of form; received promptly; voted promptly; vote recorded a week after mailing.

  110. I’m in Watertown. I returned the postcard within days of getting of it. The online tracker said my ballot was mailed on August 13th but it hadn’t arrived by August 25th so I voted early in person on Tuesday, assuming it had gotten lost. It finally arrived the following day but I’d already voted by then.

  111. I voted in person on election day in Belmont. It was seamless and easy. My wife voted by early ballot and dropped her ballot off at City Hall, also seamless. I appreciate the option to vote early or in person. Excellent job and thank you to you and to our local officials.

  112. I honestly don’t remember when I requested the vote-by-mail ballot, when I got it, or when exactly I returned it. I just know that I did everything well ahead of time. I returned the ballot INSIDE the Watertown Town Hall because I do not trust the US mail at this time.

  113. I voted early in person Belmont and it was great. Just one family group ahead of me. Clear directional signs. Staff also informed me on how to vote by mail in Fall and showed me the drop-box for submitting mail-in ballots early in person.

  114. I ordered a mail-in ballot about 6 weeks before the election. It took about 2-3 weeks for it to arrive. My daughter then ordered one, but when it came close to the election, and she found out she would be away on Sept. 1, she used my ballot (we’re the same party) and I said I would use her ballot when it came, but it never came. I went and voted on Sept. 1 and they had me marked as having been sent a ballot, so initially they questioned whether I could vote. The official at the voting area said I could vote.

  115. Sorry I could not remember dates, but we mailed our ballots to Town Hall two days after we got them. It never occurred to us to check that it was received. Don’t want to burden workers at TH, but now wondering if we should have checked to make sure that it was received.

  116. I cannot remember the exact dates, but every thing was so easy that I will do the same for the November election.

  117. I now live in Boston. The drop off box for Boston is at City Hall and is NOT easy to locate (there are two: one in the lobby, but I was there in the evening after the lobby was locked). There was NO info online about how to find the drop boxes. Luckily a Boston Policeman was on site and helped me. Parking in the area is also nearly impossible.

  118. I requested a ballot at least a week before my husband did, but his ballot arrived exactly a week before mine did. When mine did not arrive, I called Ellen (Belmont Town Clerk) and she said they were mailed the same day, so the issue was likely with the post office. This is a bit concerning, as the ballots did not have to travel far. For the general election, we will likely drop them off at the Town Hall to be sure they are received in time.

  119. I voted in person with no trouble, there was hardly anyone there voting and the staffing and voting facilities were more than adequate. There was plenty of hand sanitizer on site and everyone wore a mask. I do not see the need for people to be afraid of appearing in public provided everyone wears a mask and follows distancing guidelines. Those with medical conditions or the elderly excepted. As far as mail service, we have had no problems with mail delivery whatsoever. We get mail every day at about the same time of day. The only variation is when the regular mail person takes a day off and the person filling in does the route in a different order thereby changing the time of day mail is delivered. If you value the USPS, send first class mail.

  120. I’m registered in Boston, but I’ve been spending a lot of time at my parents’ house in Brookline and (perhaps stupidly) requested that my ballot be sent there. It never arrived, either to Boston or to Brookline. I ended up voting in person at the Boston Public Library, which was pretty crowded and extremely confusing–I could barely hear what the poll workers were saying through all the layers of PPE. I’ve given up hope on getting a ballot for November, and plan to vote in person at my polling place.

  121. I work at an election precinct so voted in-person, though might vote either early or by mail for November.

    A number of people came in-person saying that their ballots never arrived in the mail. Some more people thought that mail-in ballots could be dropped off at precincts on Election Day. One showed me the paper that came with her ballot. The language used was confusing and did not clearly spell out where to bring your ballot when.

    I worry about people taking longer to vote in-person in November because many are unaware of what the Ballot Questions are, what the answers mean, and read the long descriptions on-site. In “normal” times, taking longer to vote isn’t a big deal but it’s a potential safety risk in the middle of a pandemic. Why take longer? Many people throw away the booklets that are mailed in advance. Some of the booklets never arrived because some buildings’ janitors throw them out if they’re just left on a shelf in the mailroom. I know that there are commercials but that’s not usually enough to inform people about the Ballot Questions and to decide how they want to vote *before* coming to the precinct or early voting location.

  122. My requested mail-in-ballot was so late, I voted early in person instead; they made me sign that I’d not received it yet. It turns out my mail ballot only took 2 days once posted to reach me, but had sat unprocessed for weeks before being sent.

  123. Check weekly to see if my mail in ballot for Nov 3 has been mailed and status remains “Pending”. I will return the day I get it. Thinking of dropping off in a ballot box, as am unsure about the post office.

  124. Voting by mail in Brighton was frustrating. It took two weeks to receive a ballot, so it was too late to mail it back. I was able to use a drop box at an early vote polling place. But I don’t understand why Boston only has a drop box at city hall. They should be available in the neighborhoods as well.

  125. Although I don’t remember the dates, there were very many days elapsed between request sent, ballot sent, ballot received by me and although I mailed ballot immediately it was not marked as received for many days. Mail service has proved unreliable and provided cause for worry.

  126. Voting by submitting at the library box went fine except for a small glitch. When checking that my ballot was received the system did not recognize Mount Auburn Street but did recognize the abbreviation Mt. Auburn. I think a better system should recognize both. Thanks for soliciting our feedback.

  127. I did not attempt to vote by mail as I was skeptical that I would receive the ballot in time due to the very sporadic mail service that I have been experiencing. This election is too important. The polling place was not crowded and everyone had masks on, so I felt safe.

  128. I sometimes work long hours/minimal sleep and I am embarrassed to say that I read the instructions quickly, did not notice that there was another envelope in my ballot envelope/a yellow one that blended in with the yellow envelope that the ballot was received in, because it did not slide out of the envelope with the other information. So, I placed my ballot in the white mailing envelope, signed that envelope, put it in the drop box and rushed off to work. When I got home that evening I collected the ballot instructions and envelope that I had received from the town clerk and at that time noticed the official ballot envelope inside. I read the instructions again, called the Town Hall the next morning, they pulled my ballot which had been put aside with others for follow up phone calls, and the staff member I spoke with suggested that I come in to vote early in person if I was available to do so. It worked out great, and I will not make the same mistake again, but apparently it’s a common one. I think that anyone with vision challenges could make this mistake /something to keep in mind/improve on for the national election if at all possible. I am thankful that I had a practice run and that the Town Clerk’s office is very diligent.

  129. The Boston Elections Department claimed they mailed my daughter’s absentee ballot to us on August 12. It did not arrive until August 24 (yes, that’s 12 days for a first-class mail item to get from one ZIP code in Boston to another ZIP code in Boston). She had to leave for college on the morning of August 24, so she ended up having to vote early in person August 23 and we ended up throwing the absentee ballot away when it arrived.

  130. Checking the status of our ballots online was a little confusing at first because our street name wasn’t fully spelled out in the database (i.e., it was spelled “HL” instead of “Hill”). Once we figured that out it was very easy to check on both of our ballots. Pretty seamless process and I hope voting by mail becomes a regular option for voters.

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