What You Need to Know About Voting in the 2021 Boston Elections

Preparations are already underway for Boston's Sept. 14 preliminary election and the general election on Nov. 2

Preparations are underway for Boston's 2021 municipal elections, including the availability of vote by mail and early voting for both the Sept. 14 preliminary election and the Nov. 2 general election.

Applications for vote by mail ballots have been mailed out to every registered voter in Boston, the city said this week. Voters need to fill out the application, including their signature, as applications without a signature will not be accepted.

To be eligible to vote by mail in the preliminary election, applications must be returned to the Boston Election Department by Sept. 8 at 5 p.m. Vote by mail applications can be returned by mail with the prepaid postcard or in person at the Boston Election Department in Room 241 at City Hall.

Any registered Boston voter who did not receive an application or lost theirs can request a new ballot application by completing the form available on the city's vote by mail website. The completed form can be brought to City Hall, sent to the Election Department by mail at Boston City Hall, City Hall Square, Room 241, Boston MA 02201, emailed to, or faxed to (617) 635-VOTE.

Vote by mail

The Election Department will send out vote by mail ballots as soon as the application requests are processed. Once a voter receives their ballot package, they should follow the enclosed instructions. It is important to sign the yellow ballot affidavit envelope. Unsigned ballot affidavit envelopes will cause a ballot to be rejected. To return ballots by U.S. mail, make sure to apply sufficient postage. While ballot package weight can vary, two First Class stamps is generally sufficient.

To be counted, ballots must be received by the Boston Election Department or in a ballot drop box by the close of polls on Election Day, Sept. 14, at 8 p.m.

Tracking your ballot

Boston voters can track their ballot request through the state's website. The city will continue to mail ballots as applications arrive, until the application deadline of 5 p.m. on Sept. 8, 2021. 

Ballot drop boxes

The Boston Election Department has placed 20 ballot drop boxes around the city, including at both the first and third floor entrances of Boston City Hall. All drop boxes are monitored under 24 hour video surveillance. Drop boxes will also be available at each early voting location during the scheduled voting hours. To find a location of a ballot drop box, visit here.

In person early voting

Voters registered in Boston can vote during the early voting period from Sept. 4 through Sept. 10 at any of the early voting sites. Hours and locations for early voting can be found here.

All early voting sites are equipped with electronic poll books for voter check in. Early voting locations are staffed with poll workers and language interpreters, and are fully accessible to voters with disabilities. 

How to vote on Election Day

Polling locations for the Boston Preliminary Municipal Election will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sept. 14. Ballots will be available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese. Language assistance will be available on Election Day by translators at polling locations or by contacting the Election Department’s translation phone bank.

What's on the ballot?

The Sept. 14 Preliminary Municipal Election includes eight candidates for the Office of Mayor, 17 candidates for Office of City Councilor at-Large and the following City Council Districts: District 4, District 6, District 7, District 9. The remaining districts are not required to have a preliminary election as there are already only one or two candidates running. 

For more information on how to participate in this year's elections, visit

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