Voting in Chelmsford
1. Check In
Look for the first letter of your Street Address on the sign above the check-in table.
When you approach the check-in table, tell the poll worker your street name, then the number of your address, and finally your full name. The voter's list is arranged in street order, which assists in keeping your wait time to a minimum.
Example: Jane Q. Voter who lives at 50 Billerica Road
Jane Q. Voter will stand in the line approaching the A-L side of the Check-in table (Billerica Road begins with the letter B).
Election worker: "May I have your street please"
Jane Q. Voter: "Billerica Road"
Election worker: "Number please"
Jane Q. Voter: "50"
Election worker: "And your name please"
Jane Q. Voter: "Voter, Jane Q."
Election worker: "Jane Q. Voter, 50 Billerica Road, is that correct?"
Jane Q. Voter: "Correct"
If your name does not appear on the active list of voters:
The poll worker at the check in table will direct a voter whose name does not appear on the active voter list to go to the precinct warden for further assistance. The voter may be "Inactive" which will require completing and signing an Affidavit of Current and Continued Residence before being able to vote. The voter will also be required to show documentation that establishes their current and continued residency at her/his Chelmsford address. The precinct warden may need to contact the Town Clerk to determine if you are registered in another precinct. If you are listed on another precinct’s list in the Town, you must go to that precinct's polling location.
If you are not on any voter list in the Town, but believe you have registered:
You may request a provisional ballot. The provisional ballot allows you to cast your votes, but they will not be counted until the municipal election official determines your eligibility. The municipal election official will review available records to determine eligibility. If eligibility is confirmed, the ballot will be removed from its sealed envelope and grouped with similar ballots and counted in a manner that provides the greatest secrecy. If eligibility cannot be confirmed, your ballot will remain sealed in the envelope until such time as it is required to be kept and then will be destroyed without being viewed.
Partisan Primary Election
In a primary election, voters who are registered in a political party may only obtain a ballot for that party. If you are an unenrolled voter (commonly referred to as "no party" or "independent"), you may request the ballot of any party participating in the primary election. Once you pick a ballot, you are stuck with it and cannot exchange it for a different party ballot. The ballot you select at a primary is public information.
After checking-in and receiving your ballot, you will proceed to a voting booth to:
2. Mark Your Ballot
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. Read the instructions carefully for each race to ensure you do not over-vote for a particular race. If you make a mistake, notify any election worker that you have done so and would like a new ballot. An election worker will assist you by spoiling the ballot with the mistake and issuing you a new blank ballot. If it is a primary, you will receive only the party ballot you originally received at the check-in table; you may not exchange it for a different party ballot by making a mistake.
If you are disabled or need any assistance, you may be accompanied by someone who you designate to provide the needed assistance or you may request that two poll workers provide you with confidential, nonpartisan help.
Once you are done marking your ballot, you will proceed to:
3. Check Out
Again, you will look for the first letter of your Street Address on the sign above the check-out table.
When you approach the check-out table, tell the poll worker your street name, then the number of your address, and finally your full name. The checker will check your name and tell you to proceed to the ballot box.
4. Cast Your Ballot
If the ballot is one-sided (blank on the reverse side), the ballot box attendant will instruct you to flip your ballot "voted side down" or "blank side up." This greatly assists election workers at the end of the evening with segregating and counting ballots. To deposit your voted ballot in the ballot box, gently place your ballot on the top surface marked with the red arrow and slowly feed your ballot into the slot at the top of the box. The electronic tabulator will automatically pull the ballot the rest of the way into the machine (similar to a slot-loading compact disc player). The ballot count register located on the very small and hard to read LCD display on the left side of the ballot box will increase by one. Your vote has been cast and counted.
If the tabulator does not take the ballot:
The ballot box attendant will examine the very small and hard to read LCD display on the left side of the ballot box to determine what the cause for the rejected ballot. It could be: an over-voted race, casting a blank ballot, stray marks on the ballot, the ballot was fed too roughly into the machine, the ballot was folded or mangled, etc. The ballot box attendant will assist the voter to either remedy the ballot or permit the voter to place the ballot in the auxiliary slot. These ballots are counted by hand after the polls have closed.
Once you have cast your ballot, exit the polling place. Thank you for voting.