MARION — Town Administrator James McGrail and Town Clerk Elizabeth Magauran wish to encourage residents to vote early in the Marion Town Election and would like to provide information regarding how residents’ mailed-in votes are safeguarded.
“In these unusual times, we hope that our residents will consider voting early,” Town Clerk Magauran said. “In support of this, we will be mailing every registered voter in Marion an early voting application for a ballot. We would also like to ensure residents that their votes are are always safeguarded and properly processed.”
When residents apply for an absentee or early ballot, they are required to sign an application form indicating they are who they say. Residents also provide their mailing address at this time.
Once received by the town, the application is entered into the State of Massachusetts Voter Registration Information System (VRIS) and matched against the voter registration information the state has in its file. Signatures are compared at this time to ensure validity.
When a ballot is mailed to the requested address, the town enters into VRIS the date the ballot was mailed and the address to which it was sent.
Residents then vote on the ballot they receive in the mail, sign the affidavit saying they voted themselves and return the ballot to the town in the envelope provided. Residents who are unable to vote or sign the ballot themselves can be assisted by another person who must sign their name, along with the voter’s, to indicate that they assisted the voter.
When the town receives the completed ballot packet, it is opened and both the outer envelope and inner signed envelope are stamped with the date and matched with the voter’s application.
The town records that it has received the ballot packet in VRIS along with the date it was received, how it was received and if the ballot was accepted or rejected. A ballot may be rejected if the affidavit (the brown envelope) isn’t signed and/or the signature doesn’t match the signature on the application.
On the day of the election, the brown envelope containing the vote is opened. It is checked in, checked out and inserted into the tabulator machine to be counted.
In order to prevent duplicate voting, the voter check-in and voter check-out lists are printed the day prior to the election and are marked with an “EV” or an “AV” and an “X” to indicate that the person has been sent a ballot and it has been received back by the town. This indicates that the person has already voted and may not vote again in person on the day of the election. If there is no “X” next to the “EV” or “AV”, the mailed ballot has not been received back by the town and that person will be allowed to vote in person. If the mailed ballot is subsequently received, it will be rejected.
Marion’s Annual Town Election, originally scheduled to take place Friday, May 15, has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new date will be announced later this month.
Registered voters can expect to receive an early voting application in the coming weeks.
Questions or concerns about early voting, voting applications or ballots can be directed to Town Clerk Magauran at 508-748-3502 or [email protected].