Voting & Elections

Early Voting

Early voting is way for you to vote before Election Day, at your own convenience. You can vote early in-person for all State Elections or by mail for all elections, including local elections. See below for more information on early voting by mail. 

Voting by Mail

Massachusetts voters now have the option to vote early by mail in all elections, with no excuse required. To request your Vote by Mail ballot, submit a signed application to your local election office.

In addition to no-excuse early voting by mail, Massachusetts has absentee voting for those who qualify. While early Vote by Mail ballots are more common, there are special circumstances where you need to apply for an absentee ballot instead. You can find more information about absentee ballot eligibility under “Absentee Ballots,” below.

Applying for your Ballot

Click Here for a 2023 Vote by Mail Application.

Any written request with your signature is an acceptable application. You can simply write a signed letter to your local election office to apply for your ballot.

Applications can be submitted by mail, email, or fax. If you’re emailing your application, you need to sign it in a way that can be compared to your hand-written signature. Electronic signatures, scanned applications, and photos of applications are acceptable. Typed signatures cannot be accepted.

Applying for a Primary Ballot

If you’re applying for a primary ballot, and you aren’t registered in a party, you must indicate which party’s ballot you want to receive. If you don’t provide a party on your application, you will not receive a primary ballot.

If you’re unenrolled (commonly called “Independent”) or enrolled in political designations, you are allowed to vote in the party primary of your choice. Your ballot choice will not affect your party registration.

Application Deadlines

Any mail-in ballot must be requested in writing at least 5 business days before Election Day.
Application deadlines for 2023 are listed below. Your application can only be accepted if it has reached your local election office by the deadline.


Application Deadline

April 4, 2023 Annual Town Election

5 p.m., March 28, 2023

Apply as early as possible, especially if your ballot will need to be mailed out of town. The U.S. Postal Service recommends allowing up to 7 days for mail delivery. To ensure you receive your ballot with enough time to mail it back, you should apply 2-3 weeks before Election Day.

Returning your Ballot

There are several options for returning your ballot. You may return your ballot by:

  • Mailing it back to your local election office
  • Hand-delivering your ballot to your local election office; or
  • Dropping your ballot off at an early voting location during early voting hours; or
  • Using a ballot drop box provided by your city or town.

Ballots cannot be dropped off at a polling place on Election Day.

For the April 4, 2023 Annual Town Election, your ballot must reach the Chelmsford Town Clerk's Office by 8 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted. Ballots that arrive after that time – even if they are postmarked on or before Election Day – will not be counted. 

For State Primaries, your ballot must reach your local election office by 8 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted. Ballots that arrive after that time – even if they are postmarked on or before Election Day – will not be counted.

For State Elections, ballots returned in person or by drop box must reach your local election office by 8 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots returned by mail from inside the United States must reach your local election office by 5 p.m. on the third day following the election and can only be counted if they are postmarked by Election Day. 

For all other elections, ballots must reach your local election office by the close of polls on Election Day in order to be counted.

Use the state's Track My Ballot tool to check the status of your ballot. The tracker will show you the date your ballot was mailed, the date it was returned, and whether your ballot was accepted or rejected.

Voting in Person

You can still vote in person if you’ve applied to vote by mail. You can vote at an early voting location (for state primaries and elections) or your polling place on Election Day.

You can’t vote in person if your ballot has been accepted by your local election office. You can’t take your ballot back or vote again.

Use the state's website to track your ballot status. If your ballot hasn’t been accepted by the Town Clerk's Office, you may vote in person at your polling place. If your ballot arrives at your local election office after you’ve voted, the mail-in ballot will be rejected.

Absentee Ballots

To qualify for an absentee ballot, you must:

  • Be away from your city/town on Election Day; or
  • Have a disability that keeps you from voting at your polling place; or
  • Have a religious belief that prevents you from voting at your polling place on Election Day

Absentee voters use the same ballots as early voters and have the same deadlines for returning their ballots. Most voters who qualify for an absentee ballot can choose instead to apply for an early Vote by Mail ballot. There are some times that an absentee ballot application is needed. You should fill out an absentee ballot application if:

  • You are a U.S. citizen residing overseas; or
  • You are on active military duty; or
  • You are currently incarcerated for a reason other than a felony conviction; or
  • You are requesting an emergency absentee ballot due to hospitalization.

Emergency Absentee Ballots

If you have been admitted to a healthcare facility within 1 week of the election, you may use the absentee ballot application to designate someone of your choice to deliver a ballot to you. The person you designate to deliver your ballot will need to bring the signed application to your local election office, pick up your absentee ballot, bring it to you, and return it for you by the close of polls on Election Day. Emergency ballots may be requested up until the close of polls.

Military & Overseas Voters

If you are a U.S citizen residing out of the country or on active military duty, you may use the Federal Post Card Application or the Massachusetts Absentee Ballot Application to request your ballot. More information is available on our page for Voting for Military & Overseas Citizens.

Download an Application

Official CHELMSFORD Vote by Mail Application

Official Absentee Ballot Application (PDF)

Solicitud de voto en ausencia (PDF)

缺席选票申请 (PDF)

Đơn Đăng Ký Bỏ Phiếu Vắng Mặt (PDF)

ពាក្យសុំសន្លឹកឆ្នោតអវត្តមាន (PDF)

Emergency Planning

In anticipation of an emergency situation or need for evacuation, an 
Election Contingency Plan  was created by Emergency Management Director, Steve Maffetone together with Town Clerk Patricia Dzuris and in coordination with Chelmsford Public Safety.
The  Election Contingency Plan was accepted by the Board of Registrars on March 16, 2020.

Watch the pandemic and evacuation plan videos created by