A voter’s guide to the 2018 Massachusetts elections

Here's everything to know about casting your ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Cambridge voters mark their ballots in the 2016 presidential election.
Cambridge voters mark their ballots in the 2016 presidential election. –David L Ryan/The Boston Globe

Voters will head to the polls across Massachusetts on Tuesday, Nov. 6, to elect a host of candidates to state and federal offices.

Among several closely-watched races on the ballot: Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is vying for a second term against Democrat Jay Gonzalez and Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren faces two challengers, Republican Geoff Diehl and Independent Shiva Ayyadurai.

Here’s what to know about casting your ballot, from polling places to candidates, on Election Day:

Where do I vote?

Polling places are organized by local voting precincts and are generally at public buildings such as town or city halls, senior centers, and schools.


To find out exactly where your ballot box is, the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office has a handy online portal at www.WhereDoIVoteMA.com. Just type in your address and your city, town, or zip code and you should be good to go.

Additionally, you can also call the state Elections Division for information about your polling place at 1-800-462-VOTE (8683).

Under federal and state law, all polling places must be accessible to disabled and elderly voters.

When can I vote?

In short, polling places across the state are required by law to operate between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Election Day.

But if you’re an early riser, the Secretary of State’s office notes cities and towns are allowed to open up the polls at 5:45 a.m. For specifics on opening hours near you, reach out to your local town or city clerk’s office or election official.

What should I bring?

Voters are not required to show photo identification at polling places, although it’s possible you may be asked to do so when you check in, officials say.

According to the Secretary of State’s office reasons you can be asked to present ID include:

  • You are a first-time voter in Massachusetts for a federal election
  • You are submitting a challenged or provisional ballot
  • You are on the inactive voter list
  • A poll worker has a reasonable suspicion prompting them to ask for ID confirmation

Admissible ID must have your name and the address where you are registered to vote. Examples include:

  • Driver’s license
  • Copy of voter registration affidavit
  • State-issued ID card
  • Rent receipt
  • Lease
  • Recent utility bill
  • Any printed ID that has your name and address

You are also allowed to bring materials such as printed pamphlets or notes into the voting booth as long as they are not put on display in the polling place, according to the Secretary of State’s office. Any materials you bring must also be taken with you when you leave the voting booth.

How do I know if I’m registered to vote?

Checking your voter registration status can be easily done online.

The Secretary of State’s website can tell you, just submit your name, zip code, and date of birth.

The last day to register to vote in the Nov. 6 election was Oct. 17.

If at the polling place your name is not on the list but you believe you are registered to vote, you may be able to cast a provisional ballot. You can also vote provisionally if you are incorrectly listed.

Provisional ballots are only counted after the election if it’s confirmed you were allowed to vote in that election.

Can I still vote if I’m listed as an ‘inactive voter’?

Yes you can.

If you are listed as an inactive voter, you will be asked to show ID and you’ll have to fill out a form confirming your current address.

What does the ballot look like in this election cycle?

Here are the candidates in statewide elections:

U.S. Senator

Elizabeth Warren, Democrat, incumbent
Geoff Diehl, Republican
Shiva Ayyadurai, Independent

Governor and Lt. Governor

Charlie Baker and Karyn Polito, Republican, incumbent
Jay Gonzalez and Quentin Palfrey, Democrat

Attorney General

Maura Healey, Democrat, incumbent
James McMahon III, Republican

Secretary of State

William Galvin, Democrat, incumbent
Anthony Amore, Republican
Juan Sanchez, Jr., Green-Rainbow


Deborah Goldberg, Democrat, incumbent
Keiko Orrall, Republican
Jamie Guerin, Green-Rainbow



Suzanne Bump, Democrat, incumbent
Helen Brady, Republican
Daniel Fishman, Libertarian
Edward Stamas, Green-Rainbow

A full listing of all candidates in Massachusetts, including for U.S. House of Representatives seats and in state Legislature offices, can be found on the Secretary of State’s website.

Here are the questions on the ballot:

Question 1 

Question 1 asks whether the state should put limits on the number of patients assigned to a nurse at a given time. The limit in most hospital departments would be set at four patients, although numbers would vary depending on patient conditions and on the hospital unit. A hospital that violates the ratios could see a $25,000 fine, if the initiative passes.

Question 2 

If passed, Question 2 would create a “Citizens Commission” to work toward creating a constitutional amendment to overturn the landmark Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. FEC. The commission, with members appointed by the state’s top elected officials, would research how the campaign finance system works and then make a recommendation for an amendment.

Question 3 

Question 3 asks voters to repeal a 2016 state law that bans discrimination against transgender people in places such as malls, restrooms, and restaurants. Because of the way the question is worded, the Secretary of State has said a “yes” vote would be counted to keep the law in place, while a “no” vote would go toward removing it.

A copy of the state’s ballot question guide can be found here.