How to vote and make your voice heard

By the Sampan editorial team


Vote this year to make your voice heard. The presidential election will take place Nov. 8 and voters must register by Oct. 19.

Voting is the civic responsibility of American citizens. Massachusetts is home to 431,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI), making up about 6 percent of the state, according to APIA Vote. According to a report from the Center for American Progress and AAPI Data, the number of Asian American voters in the last decade has nearly doubled from more than 2 million voters in 2000 to 3.9 million voters in 2012.

Make sure you’re represented by registering to vote.


Where to vote

Every precinct in Massachusetts is assigned a specific polling place. When you register to vote, you should receive an acknowledgement notice from your local election official informing you of your polling place. If you are casting your ballot in person, you must do so at the polling place assigned to your precinct. Chinatown’s two polling stations are the Metropolitan and the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology near Castle Square.


When to vote

In all state elections and primaries, polling places must be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m., though towns are allowed to open as early as 5:45 a.m. Voters who are in line when polls are closed at 8 p.m. must be allowed to vote.


How to vote

Check in

When you enter your polling place, you must get in line to check in. Some polling places may house more than one precinct, so be sure to check that you are in line for the correct precinct. When you approach the check-in table, you will be asked to state your address and then your name. 


Mark your ballot

After a poll worker has checked you in, you will be handed your ballot. If you are voting on a ballot which will be inserted into an optical scan machine, you will also be handed a secrecy sleeve with which to cover your marked ballot. You may proceed to an available voting booth where you may mark your ballot in private. Ballots are marked by the voter filling in ovals, connecting arrows, or marking an X next to candidates and questions.

If you require assistance marking your ballot due to physical disability, inability to read or inability to read English, you may bring anyone of your choosing into the voting booth with you. Alternatively, you may ask for the assistance of two poll workers. If you would prefer to mark your ballot independently, you may use the AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminal, which is available in every polling place. The AutoMARK will read the ballot to you and mark the choices that you indicate. 


Check out

When you have finished marking your ballot, you must proceed to the check-out table, where you will once again be asked for your address and then your name.


Cast your ballot

Once you have checked out, you may proceed to the ballot box, where you will insert your ballot. Most cities and towns in Massachusetts use optical scan ballots, which means you will likely be inserting your paper ballot into a machine which will tally your ballot. 


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