On Monday, April 13, the Falmouth Town Clerk’s office processed approximately 150 early voting ballot applications, more than twice the usual number.
“I’m encouraging everyone to use this,” Town Clerk Michael C. Palmer said. “We’ve gotten a very big response so far, and unlike absentee ballots, you don’t need a reason to vote early. Doing so will reduce the number of people exposed at the precincts.”
Legislation signed into law signed by Governor Charles D. Baker Jr. on March 23 allows any qualified voter to vote early via mail. Mr. Palmer is encouraging Falmouth residents to take advantage of this and apply to vote early in both the special state Senate election and Falmouth town election. Both elections are scheduled for Tuesday, May 19.
Ballots for the special state Senate election are available; ballots for the town election will be printed soon. The last day for candidates to withdraw their candidacy in the Falmouth town election was Thursday, April 16, meaning those ballots will not be printed until after that date. Mr. Palmer said town ballots should be available early next week.
“Ninety-five percent of applicants are requesting both [ballots],” Mr. Palmer said. “There are some who’ve just requested one or the other, but most are taking both ballots.”
The early voting application is available on the Town of Falmouth website at www.falmouthmass.us/957/Early-Voting. Once completed, it can be mailed to the Town Clerk’s Office, 59 Town Hall Square, Falmouth, MA 02540; emailed to email@example.com; or faxed to 508-457-2511.
“Every day, we’ve had between 30 to 50 applications,” Mr. Palmer said.
While state law allows for early voting by mail, Mr. Palmer said there is no provision in the legislation to allow in-person voting prior to the election. The polls will be open on election day.
If 10,000 Falmouth residents vote in the May 19 elections, he said, having half those voters vote via mail would greatly reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
“The goal here is to limit the exposure to the voters and limit the exposure to the election workers,” Mr. Palmer said.
Protections will be in place at the polls on election day. Some measure of social distancing will be enforced.
“As I get closer to the election and see where we are, I’m making plans on limiting the number of people who go into polling places at one time,” Mr. Palmer said, noting details regarding these restrictions will come at a later date.