Absentee Voting

Voters who are unable to vote on Election Day may vote by absentee ballot because of:

  • Absence from the town while the polls are open
  • Physical disability
  • Religious belief

State law limits the availability of absentee ballots to these 3 listed circumstances only. Absentee ballots are not available for mere convenience or because of ordinary commuting-related difficulty.  If you will be absent from the Town of Essex for an extended period of time, you may submit a single application for all elections occurring within the year the application is accepted. College students and persons studying or living abroad over the course of a particular year might consider this option.

Absentee Ballot Application

Download an Absenttee Ballot Application here

Applications may be submitted in person, by mail, email or fax to the Town Clerk's office (townclerk@essexma.org or by fax to 978.768.2505). Requests by mail, fax or email do NOT have to be submitted via the "official" application but they must include all of the information which the official application requires, including a signature (emailed requests must be scanned to include your actual signature).

 A "family member" may also submit an application for another in the family. A family member is considered a spouse, roomate, parent, sibling, child, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, grandparent, grandchild, in-law. The voter or family member must sign all applications under the pains and penalties of perjury.

In primary elections, a voter who is not registered in a political party (Unenrolled) must specify the ballot of the party of choice in the application. In all primaries, both state and presidential, if you are an Unenrolled voter, you will not become registered in a different party because of your choice of ballot, you will remain an Unenrolled voter.

If the voter submits an application in person, he may obtain the ballot and vote over-the-counter at the time of submission if the ballot is available. Absentee ballots generally are available 3 to 4 weeks before an election. Please call first to see if it is available. If the ballot is not available, it will be sent to the voter by mail when available. In all other instances, the ballot is required to be sent by first class mail, even when an application is submitted in person by a family member. Ballots may be returned by mail or in person by the voter or a family member. All ballots must be signed by the voter, or if the voter is unable to sign, by an assisting person.

Applications for absentee ballots must be received by the Office of the Town Clerk before 12 p.m. the day before an election, unless the day before the election is a holiday or a Sunday, in which case the application must be submitted by 5 p.m. on the last business day before the election. A voter who is admitted to a health care facility after noon of the 5th day before an election may apply for a ballot up until the close of the polls on election day and may request to have the ballot delivered. 

Return of Absentee Ballots to Election Official

If you are voting by mail, you should be sure to submit your application in a timely manner. Please allow enough time for the ballot to be mailed to you and for you to return the ballot in order to be received into the Town Clerk's office by Election Day. All ballots being mailed from inside the United States must be received by your local election official no later than the close of polls on Election Day. Domestic mailed absentee ballots received after the close of polls on election day, will NOT be counted and will be marked as Received Too Late. Absentee ballots and Federal-Write In Absentee ballots mailed from outside the United States must be postmarked on or before the date of the election and must be received by the election official no later than 10 days after the election.

When Absentee Ballots are Counted

Except for ballots which are rejected as defective or are receivd too late (after the close of polls on election day for domestic mail), all domestic absentee ballots are cast and counted by the poll workers on Election Day. Absentee ballots are included in the tallies, and are counted whether or not an election contains a close race. In state elections, ballots mailed from overseas and received within the approved timeframe (10 days) are added to the initial tally before the election is certified.