Two Weeks To Go: Voting In Person, Voting By Mail

Photo: You can stuff your ballot in the drop box outside Town Hall up to and including election day, Tuesday, April 6 at 8 p.m.

Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman wants eligible voters to know there are three ways to cast your ballot for the annual Town Election being held on Tuesday, April 6.

Vote by Mail Options

Absentee Voting or Early Vote by Mail
Voters who are unable to go to the polls to vote on Election Day, or are worried about the COVID impacts, may request that a ballot be mailed to them. Requests must be in writing containing the voter’s signature and are due to the Town Clerk by 5 p.m., March 31 (per a change made by the Legislature).

An Absentee ballot application was included in every household’s February Belmont Light Bill and just this week, the Massachusetts Legislature extended availability of Early Vote by Mail to municipal elections held this spring. The ballot is the same for Early Vote by Mail and Absentee Voting so please only file one request per voter so we can fulfill all requests in a timely way; if you’ve already filed an application to receive an Absentee ballot, do not file an Early Vote by Mail request. Applications can be dropped off or emailed to voting@belmont-ma.gov

The ballot will be mailed to the voter using the US Postal Service; The Town Clerk asks voters to file requests early to avoid delays. Voted ballots may be mailed back or deposited in our secure Town Clerk Drop Box at the bottom of the steps to Town Hall, parking lot level. All ballots must be received by 8 p.m., close of polls on Election Day, April 6.

Voting In Person

Registered voters may cast their ballots in person only on Election Day; polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the usual polling locations:

  • Precinct One: Belmont Memorial Library, Assembly Room, 336 Concord Ave.
  • Precinct Two: Belmont Town Hall, Select Board Room, 455 Concord Ave.
  • Precinct Three: Beech Street Center , 266 Beech St.
  • Precinct Four: Daniel Butler School Gym, 90 White St.
  • Precinct Five: Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.
  • Precinct Six: Belmont Fire Headquarters, 299 Trapelo Rd.
  • Precinct Seven: Burbank School Gym, 266 School St.
  • Precinct Eight: Winn Brook School Gym, 97 Waterhouse Rd., Enter From Cross Street

To see the specimen ballots or download an Absentee or vote by mail application, please visit the Town Clerk’s web page:

http://www.belmont-ma.gov/town-clerk

Be Counted: Town Census Forms Have Been Mailed, Now Send Them Back

Photo:

The Belmont Town Clerk and the Board of Registrars of Voters have mailed the annual town census form to every residential address. The census provides proof of your Belmont residency, protects your voting rights and supplies information for the town’s 911 system.

Resident should review the information, make any additions/corrections, sign and return the census as soon as possible. The completed form can be mailed in the self-addressed envelope or placed in the Town Clerk secure drop box located at the base of the stairs to Town Hall (on the left side of the driveway).

If your household does not receive a census addressed to your family or one addressed to “Current Resident,” contact the Town Clerk’s office to have one mailed to you by phoning 617-993-2603 or voting@belmont-ma.gov  

One Week To Vote: A Q&A With Town Clerk On Early Voting, Election Day

Photo: Early voting at Town Hall continues to Friday

There are mailers filled with voter requests stacked behind the plexiglass on the front desk of the Belmont Town Clerks office at Town Hall. Across the hall, volunteers are helping residents with the early voting process while other voters are jump out of their vehicles to place mail-in ballots into the town’s official “drop box.”

With the 2020 presidential election one week away, it was expected that the small full-time staff and Town Clerk Ellen Cushman would be busy with a myriad of tasks; from answering requests, preparing Belmont’s eight polling stations, having everything prepped for Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Now add to the usual election preparations a coronavirus pandemic, running an early election operation in Town Hall and an explosion in mail-in ballots, it’s about as busy as Santa’s workshop the day before Christmas in the Clerk’s office.

For Ellen Cushman, Belmont’s Town Clerk, the goal of her office in the coming seven days is to make the process of voting as smooth and worry free as possible. The Belmontonian spoke with Cushman at Town Hall to ask her view of the upcoming election.

Belmontonian: Across the country, there have been extraordinary numbers in states and cities in regards to early voting. What has been the experience here?

Cushman: In Belmont, we have 18,000 registered voters, and we’ve mailed out more than 11,000 ballots. To date, we have 9,000 of those in hand, so we’re about at 50 percent of all voters having cast their ballots and are done. We still have about 2,800 ballots that are floating around out there and they’re deciding whether they’re going to turn them in, or they’re going to vote on Election Day. Then there are the remaining 7,000 who haven’t made a mail-in request or have early voted.

Q: So how many, so how much longer do people have before. Do they have to vote, either coming in, either early voting like we have here, or via mail,

Cushman: If you want to file a vote by mail request and receive a ballot to be mailed to you. You have until Wednesday, October 28 to file that request at 5 p.m. To request a ballot by mail, go online on to the Secretary of the Commonwealth portal – it’s also a great place to check whether your ballot has been returned, whether you’re a registered voter and where you would vote. You can just also go to that same site, print the “vote by mail application” and then you would have to fax it to us, email it to us, or drop it in our Dropbox out in front of Town Hall. Any of those three is acceptable. But again by the deadline is Oct. 28.

You can also vote by coming into Town Hall and do early voting in person. Early continues until Friday, Oct. 30. The schedule is

  • Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Friday; 8 a.m. to noon

And if you miss those two early options, you can always show up on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3 at one of the eight Belmont precincts based on where you live.

Q: Due to the average age of election workers, somce towns are having trouble getting enough staff for Nov. 3. What is the situtation in Belmont?

Early voting starts here.

Cushman: We’ve been doing great. We have a lot of wonderful seasoned workers for have been here for a long time but who were not able to do so because they were in higher-risk categories due to COVID. We were down definitely before our June Town Election so we put out a call to people and we got a tremendous response who heard that maybe the election was going to be compromised in terms of our ability to recruit and keep poll workers. In the end, we’ve got 210 qualified election workers. I think we’re going to be deploying about 120 of them on election day.

Q: This could be a record turnout for the country in term of voters. What do you think the percentage is going to be in Belmont?

Cushman: I am not going to predict but I will tell you if you looked at the past, Belmont is a very heavy voting community particular if you look at the state election two years ago. In 2018, Belmont was at 74 percent, one of the highest in the state. Our presidential elections in November usually hangs out somewhere in the lower 80s, 85 percent. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s in that zone; it certainly feels that way to us there’s a tremendous amount of interest, a lot of energy, people are excited to get involved in the process.

Q: With the volume of ballots and new procedures, have any issues cropped up from the public?

Cushman: We have had only a couple of people who are unhappy with what they’re finding as they’re going through the process. They thought they could requested a ballot by mail and then came here in person and be able to put their ballot through the voting machine. Massachusetts laws only allows voters to do that on Election Day. So we’ve only had a couple of those sort of intersections which were less than fulfilling but that’s what happens when you have 18,000 people trying to vote.

Q: Any final words for the voters week before the election?

Cushman: The polls at the precincts are open on Election Day at 7 a.m. and close promptly at 8 p.m. If you are in line at 8 p.m., you will still be able to vote.

And prepare to be patient. This is a very unusual year. All of our polling places had to be reconfigured for the June and September elections and we’re using the same sort of configurations: one way in, one way out as much as we can and all of the voting booths are at least six-feet apart. Some of our polling locations had to be diminish or cut back on the number of booths that we’re offering, so the number of people who will be allowed in the polling place to vote will likely be smaller. So bring a Sudoku or crossword puzzle, headphones or a book. People are used to just picking their time, walking in walking out.

It might be a reset of what their expectation is and that’s where we are.

In-Person Early Voting For State Primary Begins Saturday, Aug. 22

Photo: Early voting starts Aug. 22

In-person early voting for the Massachusetts State Primary will take place statewide from Saturday, Aug. 22 to Friday, Aug. 28., according to a press release from Ellen Cushman, Belmont’s Town Clerk.

In Belmont, all early primary voting will take place at Town Hall, Concord Avenue in Belmont Center. Only voters who are registered as Democratic, Republican, Green Rainbow or Libertarian will be able to vote.

On Election Day, Tuesday, Sept. 1, voters must go to their precincts to cast ballots that day.

Belmont’s in-person hours are:

  • Saturday, Aug. 22        10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 
  • Sunday, Aug. 23           10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Monday, Aug. 24          8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 25          8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 26    8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, Aug. 27        8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Friday, Aug. 28             8 a.m. – NOON 

Tuesday’s Belmont Annual Election Will Be A 10 And 2 Event

Photo: Belmont Town Election will take place Tuesday, June 23.

The usual combination of heavy sweaters, boots and gloves will be traded in for summer outfits, sandals and shorts as Belmont’s annual town election was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic from its traditional early April date to the first two days of summer.

The Town Election will be held Tuesday, June 23 with new special hours for voting. Poll hours are limited to 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Belmont’s eight voting precincts. Only voters will live in Precinct 2 will vote at Town Hall. 

“Voting in person will be different with social distancing protocols and other safety measures in place to protect Belmont’s election workers and voters,” said Town Clerk Ellen O’Brien Cushman. 

“Ideally most people who want to vote in the local election will do so by mail to limit exposure. Voters choosing absentee voting must submit a written signed request to receive ballots by mail,” said Cushman.

This year with expanded voting, approximately 2,000 Belmont voters have received Absentee and Early Voting ballots. All ballots must be received by the Town Clerk by 2 p.m., the close of polls on June 23. To ensure your ballot gets counted, we ask you to deposit your voted ballot in our Town Clerk dropbox, located at the base of the steps to Town Hall at the parking lot level. 

For those who have not yet filed an application to receive an Absentee or Early Voting ballot, time is running out to apply for and receive a ballot. Though the legal deadline to submit an application is Monday, June 22 at noon, per Mass General Laws, the likelihood that a ballot will reach the voter by US Mail on June 23 is slim. 

Presidential Primary Elections Include Early Voting Days

Photo: Early voting is coming to Belmont.

Belmont’s Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and Green/Rainbows will have the chance to vote for presidential candidates in their party’s primary election from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3 after the Select Board signed the warrant approving the measure, according to Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman.

In addition to the four party voters, the 9,000 residents registered as unenrolled can pick up one of the party’s ballots to vote for those candidates. But if you belong to the Pizza or Pirate parties – yes, the state recognize those political entities – you’ll have to sit this one out.

Voters will cast their ballots at their usual polling precinct. Residents can register to vote, change their party affiliation, change their name or voting address up until Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. at the Town Clerk’s Office in Town Hall.

Cushman will also be registering students at Belmont High School on Feb. 10 during the lunch periods outside the cafeteria.

Cushman has announced a week of early voting on the following dates and times:

  • Monday, Feb. 24        8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 25        8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 26  8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, Feb. 27     8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Friday, Feb. 28          8 a.m. to Noon

All Early Voting will take place at the Belmont Town Hall, 455 Concord Ave. Election Day voting will take place at each of the eight voting precinct locations.

Early Voting is available to all voters of the Commonwealth, unlike Absentee Voting that is only available to those voters who will not be in Belmont on Election Day or cannot vote in person on Election Day due to a medical disability or religious conflict with voting on Election Day.

The Town Clerk’s office always recommends that voters carry  identification when going to the polls or Early Voting in case one is required due to inactive status.

Questions should be directed to the Town Clerk’s office at 617-993-2600.

Want To Vote Nov. 6? Registration Deadline Is Oct. 17; Early Voting Starts Oct. 22

Photo: Now is the time to register to vote.

If you are looking to vote on the Belmont 7-12 School debt proposal, several ballot questions or for the slew of federal, state or district candidates seeking office this fall, the voter registration deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 17 to be eligible to vote in the Nov. 6 state election.

A person can register to vote in Belmont if:

  • You are living in Belm0nt; and
  • You are at least 18 years old or will be 18 years old on or before Election Day; and
  • You are a citizen of the United States.

Property ownership alone does not entitle a person to register to vote in Belmont; you must also live in Belmont.

In order to be eligible to vote in the upcoming state election, the voter registration must be received or postmarked by the 20th day preceding the election, on Oct. 17.  The Town Clerk’s office will remain open until 8 p.m. to receive voter registrations and changes to voter registrations on Oct. 17.

Check your current voter registration status at the Secretary of State website.

Are you a registered voter in another Massachusetts town or a different state?

If you were a registered to vote in another Massachusetts town or state, you must register to vote in Belmont in order to vote here.  See below for voter registration access.

Have you moved or changed your name since you registered to vote in Belmont or last voted in Belmont? 

The deadline for registered Belmont voters who want to make changes of address within Belmont, or name or party affiliation is also Oct. 17.  See below for voter registration change.

Online Voter Registration for residents who have a current Massachusetts Driver’s License or Massachusetts State ID issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Voter Registration Documents are also available at the Town Clerk’s office in Town Hall, 455 Concord Avenue or online at the Town Clerk’s web pages.

Find out if you are registered to vote and where you vote, sample ballots and more

Change of Belmont address forms for voters who are already registered to vote in Belmont

Change of Party affiliation forms for voters who are already registered to vote in Belmont

Early Voting will be available at Town Hall Oct. 22 starting at 8 a.m. through Nov. 2 at Noon.

Any registered voter of Belmont can choose to cast an Early Voting ballot for this election. Belmont’s Early Voting will take place only at Town Hall; the Early Voting Period is dictated by law.  Early Voting is different from Absentee Voting, in that any voter can cast an Early Voting ballot but only those voters who qualify may request us to mail an Absentee Ballot (see the qualifications below).  If you’ll be in Belmont during the Early Voting period, why not consider stopping into Town Hall to cast your ballot instead of having us mail an Absentee Ballot to your home?

The full schedule of extended Early Voting times and dates, including evening and Saturday hours, will be published next week and updated on the Town Clerk’s web pages,

Why Wait? Vote Now for Town Election Via Absentee Ballot

Photo: Absentee voting starts … now!

Don’t miss out voting in the annual Town Election – just 15 days away! – since Tuesday’s are “date” night or because you can’t find a sitter for your pet beagle.

Absentee voting for the April 5 election is now available in the Town Clerk’s Office, located on the ground floor of Town Hall. Anyone wishing to vote absentee should visit the Clerk’s office during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) up until noon on Monday, April 4.

Questions? Contact the Town Clerk at 617-993-2600 or e-mail townclerk@belmont-ma.gov