fb-pixel Skip to main content

You can still vote in today’s primary election. Here’s everything you need to know

Jamie Edwards and her son, Phillip, took direction from a poll worker during early morning voting at the Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School in Dorchester.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe

Voting in the 2020 primary is underway across Massachusetts Tuesday, where hundreds of thousands of people voted by mail-in ballots for the first time in the state’s history.

What time are polls open? How do I find my polling place?

Polls in Massachusetts are open from 7 a.m. through 8 p.m. The Massachusetts secretary of state’s office has a tool that allows you to use your address to look up your polling location.

Who is on the ballot? Tuesday is a primary day for the Democratic and Republican parties.

The top statewide race for Democrats is between incumbent Sen. Edward Markey and Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III. No Kennedy has ever lost a race in Massachusetts.


Two Republicans, Shiva Ayyadurai of Belmont and Kevin O’Connor of Dover, are running in their Senate primary.

The other high profile Democratic race is in the 4th Congressional District where seven candidates are hoping to succeed Kennedy, who decided not to run so he could challenge Markey. The district stretches from some of Boston’s western suburbs south to Fall River.

I still have my completed mail-in ballot. How do I make sure my vote gets counted?

Mail-in ballots must be delivered to municipal offices by 8 p.m. Tuesday in order for them to be counted, the city of Boston noted in an alert Tuesday. In Boston, the mail-in ballots can only be delivered to City Hall. People with a completed mail-in ballot can still vote in person, officials noted. “If you bring a mail-in ballot to your polling location on Election Day, you will still be able to cast your vote in-person at that location. A poll worker will ensure your mail-in ballot is spoiled before you can cast your ballot in person,’' the city noted.

Some 400,000 mail-in ballots have not been returned, Secretary of State William Galvin said Monday.


I am an unenrolled voter, but I feel strongly about a particular candidate. Can I vote today?

Yes. Unenrolled voters can participate in the primary by choosing a Democratic or Republican ballot — and can then return to the unenrolled status before leaving the polling place.

Will the winners be known Tuesday night?

Maybe. Maybe not.

The primary election is playing out during the coronavirus pandemic, which led state officials to approve mail-in ballots for all voters for the first time and created seven days of early voting. An estimated 927,000 votes already have been cast, officials said.

Galvin said he expected between 1.2 million and 1.3 million residents to vote in the Democratic primary. Another 150,000 were expected in the GOP race, he said. At that level, it would mark the highest raw number of ballots cast in a state primary since 1990, when more than 1.5 million people voted. The state, now with 4.7 million registered voters, has not seen turnout top 30 percent in a state primary since 1992.

Galvin, speaking Monday, said he was optimistic that results would be tallied by the morning after the election, leaving open the possibility of many candidates going to bed Tuesday without knowing the result.

I voted early and my candidate has dropped out. Can I change my vote?

No. Early voters cannot change their vote (or vote again) once their ballot has been cast, officials have said.

(Information from prior Globe stories was used in this report.)


John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.