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How Do College Students Vote?

In this column, you ask questions, and Patch finds the answers.

How Do College Students Vote?

We received a question from a Patcher who wants to know how college students can vote in November's election. Here's what we found out:

Q: I was just reading the voters guide. This is the first year my daughter can vote. I was wondering what is the procedure for the kids who are away at college? How do they vote?

A: Your college student would vote by absentee ballot. If she lives in Watertown, she (or you) should contact the Watertown Town Clerk's office in writing (see below) to have an absentee ballot sent to her. If she has officially changed her address to that of her college address, she should contact the Town Clerk in that town. 

Register First

College students must be registered to vote before they can cast any ballot. According to the  Watertown Town Clerk's website you can do so in person at any local Town Clerk or Election Commission office, at any registration event, or at a number of state agencies, including the  Department of Transitional Assistance and the  Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Residents can also register to vote by mail by completing, signing, and mailing a voter registration form to the Office of the Town Clerk located at:
Town Hall, 149 Main St., Watertown, MA 02472

How to vote by an Absentee Ballot

You may vote by absentee ballot if you will be absent from your city or town on election day, and/or have a physical disability that prevents your voting at the polling place and/or cannot vote at the voting polls due to religious beliefs 

Applying for an Absentee Ballot

All applications for absentee ballots must be made in writing. You must apply for an absentee ballot from your city or town clerk or election commission no later than noon of the day before the election. Applications may be mailed or hand delivered and you may use any form of written communication or the official application form. A family member of a person qualified to vote by absentee ballot may apply in the same manner for you. 

To be counted, a completed ballot must be received by the time the polls close on election day. If you are not able to write, the person assisting you must sign your name as well as their name, address and telephone number. Follow the directions on the brown envelope very carefully. 

Requesting to Vote by Absentee Ballot

A ballot will be sent to any address you specify, including your own home.  Be sure to apply early. Include on the application:

  • your name and address as registered
  • ward and precinct, if you know them
  • the precise address where the ballot should be sent
  • the party ballot you wish in a primary
  • your own signature

For more information, contact the Watertown Town Clerk's office at 617-972-6486.


You Ask, Patch Answers: Do you have any burning questions to which Patch can help find the answer? Leave them in the comment section below. 

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