Voters who are unable to vote on Election Day may vote by absentee ballot because of:
- Absence from the town while the polls are open
- Physical disability
- Religious belief
State law limits the availability of absentee ballots to these 3 listed circumstances only. Absentee ballots are not available for mere convenience, or because of ordinary commuting-related difficulties.
Massachusetts does have early voting available for every biennial State Election. Also, if you will be absent from the Town of Brookline for an extended period of time, you may submit a single application for all elections occurring within the year the application is accepted.
Applications for absentee ballots may be obtained in-person or downloaded (PDF). Applications may be submitted in-person or by mail. A "family member" may submit an application for another in the family. A family member is considered:
- Adopted child
- Adopting parent
- Spouse or person residing in the same household
In primary elections, a voter who is not registered in a political party must specify the ballot of the party of choice in the application. In all primaries, both state and presidential, you will not become registered in a party because of your participation.
Additional Application Information
Applications for absentee ballots must be received by the Office of the Town Clerk before 12 p.m. the day before an election. A voter who is admitted to a health care facility after noon of the 5th day before an election may apply for a ballot up until the close of the polls on election day and may request to have the ballot delivered. Absentee ballots generally are available 3 to 4 weeks before an election.
Permanently Disabled Voters
A voter who is permanently disabled need not submit a request for an absentee ballot every election. If such a voter submits a note from a registered physician indicating that they are disabled permanently, the Town Clerk's office will send an application for an absentee ballot each year to the voter's address, where the voter will complete and sign the application and check the box indicating "all elections." Upon receipt of the signed application, the town clerk will send the voter an absentee ballot for each election held that year.
In Person and By Mail Applications
If the voter submits an application in person, he may obtain the ballot and vote over-the-counter. Please call first to see if it is available. If the ballot is not available, it will be sent to the voter by mail when available. In all other instances, the ballot is required to be sent by first class mail, even when an application is submitted in person by a family member. Ballots may be returned by mail or in person by the voter or a family member. All ballots must be signed by the voter, or if the voter is unable to sign, by an assisting person.
UOCAVA and Specially Qualified Voters
In addition to registered voters, certain voters may vote by absentee ballot. Under federal law, a UOCAVA voter is a person who is living outside of the United States, who is at least 18 years old and whose last residence in the United States was Massachusetts. These persons are eligible to vote in federal elections in the community where they last resided before leaving the United States. This includes military personnel.
Also, under Massachusetts law, you may be a specially qualified voter if you are otherwise eligible to be a registered voter and your present domicile, a place where you live and plan to remain, is Massachusetts and you are out of town because you are:
- Absent from the commonwealth
- Active service of the armed forces or merchant marine of the United States or a spouse or dependent of such a person
- Confined in a correctional facility or jail and not convicted of a felony