Massachusetts voters on Saturday can begin casting ballots in person as the state’s early-voting period gets underway, adding to the hundreds of thousands of residents who have already cast ballots by mail.
Registered voters can cast ballots at a handful of early-voting sites in each community. For Boston residents, that includes Fenway Park. The early-voting period in Massachusetts runs from Oct. 17 through Oct. 30.
Early voting at Fenway will be available on Saturday, Oct. 17 and Sunday, Oct. 18 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Boston voters looking to cast ballots at Fenway should use the Gate A entrance at the corner of Jersey Street and Brookline Avenue. Masks and social distancing will be required, according to a press release.
The weather on Saturday will start out with heavy rain, but the skies will clear in the morning and the sun will return. Temperatures are expected to be in the 60s in the afternoon. Early-voting locations and dates vary in each city and town. You can find a full list of locations and dates on the secretary of state’s website.
State and local officials this year are urging people to take advantage of early voting and mail-in ballot options to avoid crowds at the polls on Election Day as COVID-19 remains a threat. According to the secretary of state’s office, more than 1.6 million ballots have been mailed to Massachusetts voters as of Thursday, and nearly 400,000 have been returned.
Nationally, more than 17 million Americans have already voted across 42 states, a number that smashes previous records, and has been driven by Democratic turnout and changes to how people vote because of COVID-19, according to the Associated Press. The news organization found Democrats outnumber Republicans in casting early votes, which include mail-in ballots, by 2 to 1.
Polls have shown that Republicans this year are expressing a preference to vote in person, perhaps driven by President Trump’s frequent criticisms of voting by mail.
Still, the intense interest in voting early has led to long lines in states like Georgia and Texas, where voters waited for hours to cast ballots.
In Georgia, a voter check-in system that saw outages after it was overwhelmed by volume was blamed for the lines, according to the Georgia secretary of state. Brad Raffensperger said at a news conference on Wednesday that records were being set “every hour.”
In addition to choosing the president and weighing in on races for the US House and Senate, Massachusetts voters will be asked to decide two ballot questions: one on the availability of motor vehicle data for maintenance and repair purposes, and another on ranked-choice voting.
The deadline to register to vote in Massachusetts is Oct. 24, and Election Day is Nov. 3.