Absentee ballots are now available in the city clerk’s office for the Sept. 17 preliminary election. Preliminary balloting is held when a field of candidates needs to be reduced for the final election. This year, preliminary contests will be held in the three-way race for mayor and in a three-way race for the Ward 5 City Council seat. Voters unable to cast a ballot on Election Day due to absence from town, physical disability, or religious belief are eligible to cast an absentee ballot. The deadline for filing applications for absentee ballots in the preliminary election is noon on Sept. 16. For more information on absentee balloting or to download an application, go to the city’s website, www.cityofwoburn.com, and click on the clerk’s office, then “Municipal Election 2013.” The final election is Nov. 5.