A quick public service reminder: the Massachusetts Presidential Primary is February 5th. The last day to register to vote in this Primary and/or change party enrollment for this Primary is January 16th, a week from yesterday. There are also some special election primaries to select nominees to fill vacant seats left by Rep. Marzilli, Rep. Correia, Rep. Petersen, and Rep. Festa.
If you have moved since the last election or never voted or registered, registering now will permit you to vote on Feb. 5th.
Presidential Primaries are elections. When citizens vote in a Presidential Primary for a particular candidate, they are actually voting to allocate their state’s delegates to a particular candidate before the national conventions. Each state is assigned a number of delegates based on population of the state. Those delegates will attend the national conventions in the summer to select the party nominee for President for each party. Voting in a Presidential Primary gives the average citizen an opportunity to participate in determining the party’s nominee for President and to influence the party platform.
You do not need to be enrolled in a party (registered as a Republican or Democrat or Green or Libertarian, etc.) in advance to vote in a primary. But, you will have to enroll in a party on the day of the Presidential Primary in order to participate in it. That means, when you go to your polling place, you will have to say, "I want to vote on the ____ (Republican/Democrat/Green/Libertarian, etc.) ballot." And, if memory serves, that will mean that you will remain enrolled as a member of that party after the primary unless you choose to indicate otherwise.
We have voter registration guides here and you can also download the voter registration forms here http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepdf/file.pdf. Be sure to follow the general and state specific instructions when filling it out. These must be postmarked by January 16th.
You can contact the Secretary of State's office with questions about primaries or registering to vote at the numbers below.
Telephone: (617) 727-2828
Toll-Free: 1-800-462-VOTE (8683)
Fax: (617) 742-3238
I am available to answer any questions that I can and hunt down answers for those I cannot. Please let me know if I can help in any way.
We encourage all of our friends to participate in this important process and let their voices be heard.
Happy New Year!
Deborah H. Fournier, Esq.
Associate Director of Public Policy
AIDS Action Committee
294 Washington Street, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Don't forget, the only folks in Massachusetts who cannot vote due to incarceration are those who are incarcerated POST TRIAL for a FELONY CONVICTION. All others can vote -- those on probation, parole, and those with criminal records CAN vote. those who are incarcerated pre-trial and those who are incarcerated post-trial for misdemeanor convictions CAN vote.