Voting in Winthrop
Many changes in precincts and voting locations became effective January 1, 2012. The easiest way to find out what precinct you are in and where you vote is to click on the above link. If you have further questions, please call our office at 617-846-1742.
Pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws chapter 54, section 6, the Town of Winthrop has changed voting precincts to reflect population changes as calculated by the most recent federal census. These changes are reflective of the new maps drawn by the State. The following is a listing of streets that have been changed. Your voting precinct and polling location can be found on the front page of your enclosed annual census form in the box at top left corner. See sample below.
STREETS WITH PRECINCT CHANGES:
Precincts 1 & 2 & 5 Memorial Gym, Pauline St.
Precincts 3 & 6 Winthrop Senior Center, 35 Harvard Street
Precint 4 Golden Drive
The polls are open in Winthrop for Elections from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
When you approach the check-in table, first tell the poll worker the name of the street where you live, then the number of your residence and finally your name. As the voters list is arranged by street, this is the quickest way to receive your ballot and keep any lines moving.
In a primary election, voters who are registered in a political party only may obtain a ballot for that party. If you are an "unenrolled voter" (commonly referred to as an "independent voter"), you may request the ballot of any party participating in the primary election.
If your name does not appear on the list of voters, the poll worker should contact the Town Clerk to determine if you are registered in another precinct. If you are on another precinct list, you will be directed to that precinct.
If you are not on any list in the Town, but believe you registered, you may request a "provisional" ballot. The provisional ballot allows you to cast your vote. The provisional ballot will be counted if it is determined the voter is registered in Winthrop. The Registrars of Voters will review each provisional ballot to determine if the votes should be counted.
Once you receive a ballot, you cast your votes in the privacy of the voting booth. You may vote for the choices available on the ballot or, if you prefer, write-in the name of a candidate in the space provided on the ballot. If you make an error in marking your ballot, you must return it to the poll worker to have it marked as "spoiled". Then you may receive a new ballot. If you are disabled and need assistance, someone who can provide the necessary assistance may accompany you. Or, you can request a poll worker to provide you with confidential, nonpartisan help. When you have finished voting, you must proceed to the checkout table and again state the street where you live, the number of your residence and your name. (The check-in/check-out procedure allows for a full accounting of all ballots to reduce the chance
of fraud.) After you have checked-out, you deposit your ballot in the ballot box.
State law prohibits the display of political paraphernalia within 150 feet of the entrance to the polling location. Signs, stickers and even lapel buttons are not permitted within this restricted zone.
Absentee Voting in Winthrop
Voters who are unable to vote on election day because of physical disability, religious beliefs or travel may vote by absentee ballot. If you will be absent from Winthrop for an extended period of time, you may submit a single application for all elections occurring within the year the application is filed.
Applications for absentee ballots may be obtained from the Town Clerk or the Office of the Secretary of State. Applications may be submitted in person or by mail. The voter, or a "family member" (father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, grandparent, grandchild, a spouse or person residing in the same household, in-laws, adopting parent or adopted child, stepparent or stepchild, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew), may submit an application. All absentee ballot applications must be signed by the voter or a family member under the penalty of perjury before an absentee ballot will be made available.
In a primary election, a voter who is not registered in a political party must specify the ballot of the party of choice in the application. You will not become registered in a party because of your participation in a state primary. In the March presidential primary, however, a voter temporarily becomes a member of the party for which a ballot is chosen. While your registration status reverts automatically to unenrolled (independent), your temporary enrollment in the party may affect your ability to run as a party candidate in the near future.
Applications for absentee ballots must be received by the Town Clerk before 12:00 noon the day before an election. (A voter who is admitted to a health care facility after noon of the fifth day before an election may apply for a ballot up until the close of the polls and may request to have the ballot delivered.) Absentee ballots generally are available three 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 he is disabled permanently, the Town Clerk will send an application for an absentee ballot twenty-eight days before every election. The application will be as complete as the Town Clerk can make it, and the voter in most cases only will have to sign the application and return it. Upon the Town Clerk’s receipt of the signed application, the voter will be sent an absentee ballot.
In the event that the Town Clerk cannot find the name of a voter requesting an absentee ballot, the voter must be sent a provisional absentee ballot with a letter explaining the reason and the procedure.
If the voter submits the application in person, he may obtain the ballot (call first to see if it is available) and vote over-the-counter. If the ballot is not available, it will be sent to the voter when available. When the absentee ballot application is received by the Town Clerk through the mail, the ballot will be sent by mail to the voter. Ballots may be returned by mail, or in person. Ballot envelopes must be signed by the voter. If the voter is unable to sign, an assisting person may do so.
Specially Qualified Voters
In addition to registered voters, certain "specially qualified voters" may vote by absentee ballot. A "specially qualified voter" is a person who is a Massachusetts citizen, living outside of the United States, who is at least eighteen years old and whose last residence in the United States was Massachusetts. You also 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 the Town because you are in the active service of the armed forces or merchant marine of the United States, or a spouse or dependent of such person; absent from the Commonwealth; or confined in a correctional facility or jail except if by reason of a felony conviction.
Return of Ballots
In general, absentee ballots must be received before the polls close to be counted. However, absentee ballots for the state general election completed outside the United States will be counted if received by 5:00 p.m. on the tenth day following the election. This exception does not apply to Winthrop Town elections or state primaries.
A listing of all voters who obtained absentee ballots is sent to the poll locations to prevent such a voter from voting a second time.
If the Town Clerk learns that an absentee voter has died before the election, that ballot will not be counted.