The requirements for absentee voting are provided in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 54, Section 86.
A voter may only vote by absentee ballot only if the voter will be unable to vote at the polls on Election Day because of:
In order to receive an absentee ballot, all voters must file an application in writing with the Office of the City Clerk no later than noon the day before the election. A voter can cast their vote at the Office of the City Clerk if they appear in person during regular hours and file an application. An application can also be delivered or mailed to the Office of the City Clerk. Unless a voter appears in person at the Office of the City Clerk, the absentee ballot must be mailed to the voter.
A ballot mailed to the voter can be returned by mail or delivered in person by a family member to the Office of the City Clerk. A family member must be a spouse or person residing in the same household, in-laws, father, mother, sister or brother of the whole or half blood, son, daughter, adopting parent or adopted child, stepparent or stepchild, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, grandparent or grandchild.
If a family member delivers the ballot to the Office of the City Clerk, they will be asked to sign their name and relationship to the voter on the outer envelope at the time that the ballot is delivered to the Office of the City Clerk.
A sheet of instructions is mailed to the voter with the absentee ballot. Careful attention should be paid to all of the requirements listed on the sheet. Failure to follow the requirements for absentee balloting established by State law can result in the ballot being rejected.
No ballot may be taken from the Office of the City Clerk by any voter for any reason. All voting must be conducted over the counter in the Office of the City Clerk or a ballot will be sent to the voter by mail.
Voting by absentee ballot is controlled by State law and provides criminal penalties including imprisonment and fines for violations. The laws have been established to prevent fraudulent voting. In addition, applications for absentee ballots are signed under the pains and penalties or perjury.