Who May Register?
Any person who is a Massachusetts resident, a United States citizen and will be eighteen years old as of the next election, is eligible to vote. First time voters in Massachusetts must provide a copy of their identification if registering to vote by mail. If no ID is provided, they will be required to show proof of residency at the polling location on Election Day. When signing the registration form, you must attest, under the pains and penalties of perjury, that you are legally eligible to register and that the information you provide is accurate and truthful. The penalty for fraudulent registration increased recently to a fine of ten thousand dollars or imprisonment for up to five years, or both.
How to Register:
Voter registration has never been easier than it is today. You may visit the Holland Town Clerk’s Office, located at Town Hall, 27 Sturbridge Road and complete a voter registration form in person. You may also register to vote online at: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ovr/ Mail-in forms may be obtained by calling the State Elections Division at (800-462-VOTE). Confirmation notices will be sent out in a timely manner, if you do not receive one, please call the Town Clerk’s Office. In addition, branches of the state Registry of Motor Vehicles, social service agencies and military recruitment offices provide voter registration services.
There are deadlines when you have to be registered to vote. You must register to vote at least twenty days before any Town or State election or a Presidential Primary. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the Town Clerk’s Office at 413-245-7108 ext. 12.
The Annual Census is conducted in January or February each year as required by Massachusetts State Law. You should return it as soon as possible. The census is important for many reasons. The current population count is the basis for allocation of State and Federal Funds. Compliance with this State requirement provides proof of residence to protect voting rights, veteran’s bonus, housing for the elderly, and many other related benefits. Also, if you do not return your census, it may affect your voting status. The town census is the only way the Town Clerk can verify residency and that is important for school enrollment, the voter’s list, and maintenance of updated statistics.
The Process on Voting Day:
The polls are open in Holland on all local election days from 10:00am to 8:00pm. State and Federal Election hours are 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The annual town election is held on the first Monday after the first Tuesday in June. All voting takes place at Town Hall Community Room, 27 Sturbridge Road.
When you approach the check-in table, tell the poll worker your name, then the number and street of your residence.
In primary elections, voters who register in a political party may only 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. You will not become registered in a political party because of your participation in a state primary.
Casting Your Vote:
Once you receive your ballot, you cast your votes in privacy of the voting booth. You may choose from 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 a mistake on your ballot, you must return it to the poll worker to have it marked as spoiled so that you may receive a new ballot.
If you are disabled and need assistance, you may be accompanied by someone who can provide the needed assistance or request a poll worker to provide you with confidential, non-partisan help.
Absentee Voting Requirements:
Voters who are unable to vote on Election Day because of physical disability, religious beliefs or travel, may vote by absentee ballot. State law limits the availability of absentee ballots to the three listed circumstances only. Absentee ballots are not available for matters of inconvenience or because of ordinary commuting-related difficulties. If you will be absent from Holland 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 from the Town Clerk’s Office or the Office of the Secretary of State:
Applications may be submitted in person or by mail. The voter or “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 under the pains and penalties of perjury.
When a family member submits the application in person, the ballot is sent by mail to the voter. In all other cases, the ballot is sent by mail. Ballots may be returned by mail or in person by the voter or family member. All ballots must be signed by the voter or, if the voter is unable to sign, by an assisting person.
The Town Clerk must receive applications for absentee ballots by 12:00 noon the day before the election. (A voter who is admitted to a health care facility after 12:00 noon of the fifth day before the 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.
If the voter submits the application in person, he or she may obtain the ballot and vote at the counter. If the ballot is not available, it will be sent via the mail to the voter when available.
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 will send the voter an application for an absentee ballot at the beginning of each year. Upon receipt of the signed application, the Town Clerk will send the voter an absentee ballot prior to each election.
Specially Qualified Voters:
In addition to registered, 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 18 years old and whose last residence in the United States was Massachusetts. You may also 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 in the active service of the armed forces or merchant marine of the United States, or a spouse or dependent of such a person; absent from the Commonwealth; or confined in a correctional facility or jail, except if by reason of a felony conviction.