What you need to know about the 2020 Massachuetts presidential primary

The countdown is on.

CAMBRIDGE MA - 11/08/2016: Checking in to vote L-R Bruce Mann with his wife US Sen Elizabeth Warren at  Ward 8 in  the Graham and Parks School in Cambridge.  The 2016 presidential election, voter turnout at polling places  (David L Ryan/Globe Staff Photo) SECTION: METRO TOPIC 09turnout
Sen. Elizabeth Warren checks in to vote with her husband, Bruce Mann, at the Graham and Parks School in Cambridge during the 2016 election. –David L. Ryan / The Boston Globe

Super Tuesday is now less than one year away.

Massachusetts will hold its next presidential primary on March 3, 2020, and state officials are already gearing up for the expected influx of Democratic voters.

“There is every indication that we will see a high turnout next March,” Secretary of State Bill Galvin said in a statement Sunday, marking the 366-day countdown (2020 is a leap year).

“The field of candidates continues to grow and voters have already been calling my office with questions about the Presidential Primaries,” Galvin said. “Preparations have begun in my office and in local election offices around Massachusetts.”

Massachusetts will hold four presidential party primaries — Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, and Green-Rainbow — and Bay Staters may have several local candidates in the running when that day comes.


Sen. Elizabeth Warren is already a declared Democratic presidential candidate and Rep. Seth Moulton says he’s seriously considering joining the crowded field as well. But it won’t just be on the Democratic side; in February, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld became the first Republican to officially launch a bid challenging incumbent President Donald Trump.

Galvin’s office says the presidential primary ballot will be finalized by the end of 2019. Residents will also have the chance to vote for state and local party committees during the election.

The voter registration deadline for the March 3 election is Feb. 12, 2020.

Even though Galvin’s office plans to have the state’s recently-approved automatic voter registration in place by next year, any voter who isn’t already registered will likely still need to do so themselves before the deadline — which also applies to changes in party affiliation. That’s because the state can begin automatically registering voters through RMV and MassHealth transactions beginning Jan. 1, 2020, which is a small window before the Feb. 12 deadline.

Debra O’Malley, a spokeswoman for Galvin’s office, says those planning to vote on March 3 should not wait to register.

“If you go into the RMV on January 10, 2020 and you do not opt out of registering to vote, you will be automatically registered,” O’Malley said. “But that would only apply to voters who have transactions with one of the covered agencies in that time period [between Jan. 1 and Feb. 12]. There is also a necessary follow-up period during which the voter is given more time to opt out or choose a party.”


Residents can check or change their registration status and party affiliation on the secretary of state’s website. Since Massachusetts has open primaries, independent voters can choose which one they want to vote in at their polling location.

Massachusetts is among 10 states scheduled to vote on March 3, but there is a chance Bay Staters could begin voting before so-called “Super Tuesday.” Galvin’s proposal to expand early voting to the state’s presidential primaries is currently being considered by state lawmakers. The bill would implement a five-day early-voting period the week before the 2020 primary: Monday, Feb. 24, to Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.

Massachusetts will hold its state primaries in September 2020, during which voters will choose party nominees for U.S. Senate, U.S. Representative, state Senate, state Representative, and other local offices.


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