Voting as Community Service: Guarantee your vote and help your neighbors
In a year when a public health crisis has disrupted Massachusetts voters’ usual mode of voting, and when voter suppression is a heightened concern, voting is more complicated and more important than ever. Voting access is an issue of racial equity. The dismantling of the Voting Rights Act by the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision has led to the shuttering of polling places in majority Black neighborhoods, lengthening voting line times far past the acceptable half hour standard set forth by President Obama’s commission on Election Administration. It is crucial that we work through these challenges and ensure everyone’s voice is heard. Start creating your voting plan now, and help your neighbors do the same.
Make sure that you and your family and friends are registered to vote this November. Then sign up to assist others in your community to vote this November, either by phone banking from home or becoming a poll worker at any location that is accessible to you in Massachusetts.
How to Vote in Massachusetts in November 2020
- Register to vote. The deadline to register to vote in all 2020 elections in Massachusetts is 10 days before the election day. For the November 3rd election the last day to register to vote is October 24th. You can register to vote online, by mail, or in person if your elections office is open.
- Make a voting plan. You have the choice of voting early by mail or in person, or voting in person on election day. You can decide to:
- ○ Vote early by mail. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic Massachusetts is permitting vote by mail for all registered voters who request a mail-in ballot. It is recommended you submit your mail-in ballot application to your local election office by October 20th, and applications cannot be accepted after October 28th. Be sure to mail in your ballot no later than November 3rd, ballots will not be accepted later than November 6th. You can also drop off your vote by mail ballot at your local election office by November 3rd.
○ Vote early in person. Polling places will be open for early voting in person from October 17th-October 24th, with Boston City Hall serving as the primary early voting site in the city. Learn more about early voting in the City of Boston and the Commonwealth.
○ Vote on election day, Tuesday, November 3rd. Find your polling place here, go prepared with comfortable shoes and layers in case the line extends outside. Don’t forget to bring an accepted form of identification! Also be sure to wear appropriate personal protective equipment and maintain social distancing.
- Pledge to vote and go vote! Go to the YWCA National’s website and let them know what your voting plan is in November.
Is your voting plan in place? Now, help others vote.
- Apply to be a poll worker. According to CBS Boston, “More than two-thirds of poll workers are over age 61, putting them at higher risk of the COVID-19 disease. Scores of workers dropped out during this year’s primary season, taking with them decades of experience as the pandemic stifled efforts to train replacements.” Many towns are still looking for poll workers, and most positions are paid. Massachusetts prefers that poll workers are registered to vote in the state, though 16 and 17-year olds can apply, as this year they may make exceptions because of the extreme shortage of poll workers. You can apply to be a poll worker in a city or town you are not a resident of. Work Elections is an excellent database to search openings in election staffing.
- Phone bank to connect with registered voters and help others navigate the voting process. MA Voter Table will be phone banking in October and November, you can simply select the date(s) you are available and their staff will guide you through using their phone banking software and provide you with coaching and support all throughout the session on Zoom. Sign up to phone bank with them here!
Voting is a powerful way for us to raise our voices and let our elected officials know our priorities. Voting during a worldwide pandemic presents unique challenges. This November we will all have to work hard to make sure that everyone’s voice counts in our elections, but together we will protect our collective rights to free and fair elections in Massachusetts.
About YW Boston
As the first YWCA in the nation, YW Boston has been at the forefront of advancing equity for over 150 years. Through our DE&I services—InclusionBoston and LeadBoston—as well as our advocacy work and F.Y.R.E. Initiative, we help individuals and organizations change policies, practices, attitudes, and behaviors with a goal of creating more inclusive environments where women, people of color, and especially women of color can succeed.
As part of that work, we are helping organizations prioritize Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and become socially connected while staying physically distant. During this time, YW Boston is providing organizations with digital workshops and resources to help them better understand the challenges faced by their employees. For more information, please contact Sheera Bornstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.