AUBURN, Mass. – Election Day is 11 days away, but hundreds of Auburn residents have already registered their choices for president.
According to Auburn Town Clerk Ellen Gaboury, 608 absentee ballots had been submitted as of Thursday afternoon, which is on track for the same number filed for the 2008 presidential election.
“It’s comparable to four years ago,” Gaboury said. “We had about 800 absentee ballots then, so we’re on track for that. There is, however, more interest and participation with citizens overseas and military because I have electronic ballots for the first time.”
According to Massachusetts law, to qualify for an absentee ballot, the voter must:
• be a registered voter
• be absent from town during normal polling hours
• be physically disabled preventing you from getting to the polling place
• unable to vote due to religious beliefs.
Illegal absentee voting, including making a false application, is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and up to five years in prison.
Non-registered voters can cast an absentee ballot if they are a “specially qualified voter.” That is a person who is otherwise eligible to register as a voter and whose present domicile is outside the United States and whose last domicile in the United States was Massachusetts or whose present domicile is Massachusetts and who is:
• a Massachusetts citizen absent from the state;
• an active member of the armed forces or merchant marines, their spouse or dependent;
• a person confined in a correctional facility or a jail, except by reason of felony conviction.
Sample ballots have been delivered to the clerk's office. In addition to President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Auburn voters can also vote for either former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson on the Libertarian ticket or Dr. Jill Stein on the Green Party ticket for president.
Other races include: the U.S. Senate seat battle between Scott P. Brown (R-Mass.) and Elizabeth A. Warren (D-Mass.), and the state Senate seat for second Worcester district between Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) and Stephen R. Simonian (R-Auburn).
Ballots can be mailed or picked up at Town Hall. Residents must fill out an application first, which is available at the clerk's office or online.
You can do the following:
• Print out the online application and mail it to Town Hall. A ballot will be mailed back.
• Visit the Town Clerk's Office.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot is noon Nov. 5.
The Town Clerk’s Office, 104 Central St., will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays.