The polls are open in Wellesley on election day from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for State Elections; and 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for Town Elections. There are 8 polling places in Wellesley.
When you approach the check-in table, first tell the poll worker the name of street where you live, then the number of your residence and finally your name. As the voters list is arranged by street, this is the quickest way to receive your ballot and keep any lines moving.
In a primary election, voters who are registered in a political party may only obtain a ballot for that party. If you are an unenrolled voter (commonly referred to as an independent voter), you may request the ballot of any party participating in the primary election. You will not become registered in a political party because of your participation in a state primary.
What to do if you are listed as Inactive
Voters who do not return the annual census form are listed as inactive on the voter list. Each year the Town Clerk is required by state law to communicate in writing with every voter to detemine if they are still resident in Wellesley. This is the primary purpose of the census document mailed in January of each year.
If you did not confirm residency via the census or confirmation mailing you will be required to show identification showing current residency prior to voting in an election. A current dirvers license with the correct address is the best identification, but other documents such as utility bill or tax bill in your own name will also meet the requirement. You will be asked to see the Warden to sign a statement of continuous residency and show your identification. After signing the statement you will be issued a ballot and restored to active status until the next census.
What to Do If Your Name Is not on the Voters List
If your name does not appear on the list of voters, the Warden will contact the Town Clerk to determine if you are registered in another precinct or if you are considered an inactive voter. If you are on another list in the Town, you are required to go to that polling location and cast your ballot.
If you cannot be qualified to vote at the polling place but believe you’re registered, you may request a Provisional Ballot. The Provisional Ballot allows you to cast your vote and will be counted if it is determined that an error has been made and you are a qualified registered voter. You will be given a form to fill out that you will sign. You will also receive information that will allow you to find out the outcome of the research done on your voting qualification.
Casting Your Vote
Once you receive a ballot, you cast your vote in the privacy of the voting booth. You may vote for the choices available on the ballot or, if you prefer, write-in the name of a candidate in the space provided on the ballot. Marking of the ballot is by filling in the bubble for the candidate of your choice. If you mismark your ballot, you must return it to the warden to have it marked as spoiled so that you may receive a new ballot.
If you require assistance, you may be accompanied by someone who can provide the needed assistance or request a poll worker to provide you with confidential, nonpartisan help. Each polling location is also equipped with a device that allows voters with physical disabilities to mark their ballot independently. Voters with sight or motor contol issues might benefit from the use of the Automark ballot marking device.
When you have finished voting, you must proceed to the check-out table and again state the street where you live, the number of your residence and your name. (The check-in/check-out procedure allows for a full accounting of all ballots to reduce the chance of fraud). After you have checked-out, you feed your ballot into the tabulator. Please wait for the machine to process each ballot, this will take about 5 seconds per ballot. The machine will show a screen informing the voter that the ballot has been CAST or show a message if marking issues are detected. If marking issues are detected the screen will instruct the voter as to what to do next.
State law prohibits the display of political paraphernalia within 150 feet of the entrance to the polling location. Signs, stickers and even lapel buttons are not permitted within this restricted zone. (Exit polling or distribution of information related to a future election are permitted within the restricted zone.)
Absentee Voting Requirements
Voters who are unable to vote on election day because of physical disability, religious beliefs or travel may vote by absentee ballot. State law limits the availability of absentee ballots to the three listed circumstances only. Absentee ballots are not available for mere inconvenience, or because of ordinary commuting-related difficulties. If you will be absent from Wellesley for an extended period of time, you may submit a single application for all elections occurring within the year the application is accepted.
Obtaining an Application for an Absentee Ballot
Applications for absentee ballots may be obtained from the Town Clerk or the Office of the Secretary of State. Applications may be submitted in person or by mail. The voter, or a family member (father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, grandparent, grandchild, a spouse or person residing in the same household, in-laws, adopting parent or adopted child, stepparent or stepchild, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew), may submit an application. All applications must be signed under the pains and penalties of perjury by the voter, or a family member, before a ballot will be made available. State law requires that we must have a signature of the applicant on file with the request.
In a primary election, a voter who is not registered in a political party must specify the ballot of the party of choice in the application. You will not become registered in a political party because of your participation in a state primary.
The following absentee ballot application can be used for any state or local election.
Absentee Ballot Applications Form
The deadline to request an absentee ballot is NOON the day prior to the election. Ballots may be voted in person at th eoffice or mailed to a voter. Please allow additional time of up to ten days to permit mailing of a ballot to the voter and return by the day of the election.
Returning the Application for an Absentee Ballot
Applications for absentee ballots must be received by the Town Clerk before NOON the day before an election. (A voter who is admitted to a health care facility after noon of the fifth day before an election may apply for a ballot up until the close of the polls and may request to have the ballot delivered.) Absentee ballots generally are available 21 days before an election.
If the voter submits the application in person, he may obtain the ballot and vote over-the-counter (check with the office to see if the ballots are available). If the ballot is not available, it will be sent to the voter by mail. When the application is submitted in person by a family member, the ballot must be sent by mail to the voter. In all other cases, the ballot is sent by mail. No ballot may be hand carried out of the office.
A list of all voters who obtained absentee ballots is sent to the poll locations to prevent an absentee voter from voting a second time.
Permanently Disabled Voters (or Physically Challenged)
A voter who is disabled need not submit a request for an absentee ballot at every election. If such a voter submits a note from a registered physician indicating that he is disabled, the Town Clerk will send an application for an absentee ballot twenty-eight days before the each election. Upon the Town Clerk's receipt of the signed application, the voter will be sent an absentee ballot for that election.
Specially Qualified Voters
In addition to registered voters, certain specially qualified voters may vote by absentee ballot. A specially qualified voter is a person who is a Massachusetts citizen, living outside of the United States, who is at least eighteen years old and whose last residence in the United States was Massachusetts. You also may be a "specially qualified voter" if you are otherwise eligible to be a registered voter and your present domicile (a place where you live and plan to remain) is Massachusetts and you are: out of town because you are in the active service of the armed forces or merchant marine of the United States, or a spouse or dependent of such person; absent from the Commonwealth; or confined in a correctional facility or jail.
Specially qualified voters are entitled to vote by absentee ballot in any election. Applications are filed in the same manner as for registered voters.
Specially qualified voters who are living abroad (UOCAVA qualified voters) may also file a Federal Postcard Application or a Federal Write-in Ballot via mail, email or fax.
Return of Ballots
If the voter submits a absentee application in person, he may obtain the ballot (call first to see if it is available) and vote over-the-counter immediately. All other voters receive their absentee balloits by mail. Ballots may be returned by mail or in person by the voter or a family member. All ballot affidavit envelopes must be signed by the voter, or if the voter is unable to sign, an assisting person.
In general, absentee ballots must be received before the polls close to be counted. However, absentee ballots for the state general election, if mailed from outside the United States will be counted if received by 5:00 p.m. on the tenth day following the election. This exception does not apply to Wellesley town elections or state primaries.
Absentee ballots returned before the day of the election are counted at the polls on election day. Ballots received on the day of the election may be delivered to the polls for same day counting or are added to the totals the next day. Foreign mailed ballots received within 10 days of the election are added to the totals on the eleventh day following the election. ALL ABSENTEE BALLOTS ARE COUNTED.