From the Town Clerk
August was a busy month and it looks like September and October show no signs of slowing down. Nearly 4.5 million registered voters across Massachusetts received a vote-by-mail ballot application. This was sent out by the Secretary of State William Galvin’s office. This allowed registered voters to request ballots for the September 1st primary and the November 3rd general election. Early voting has been offered for other elections but never on such a grand scale. Seekonk received over 2,300 applications for a state primary ballot and over 3,000 for the November election. This unprecedented process involved a lot of data entry, collating ballot materials, printing mailing labels and stuffing thousands of envelopes with the appropriate ballots. Once people received, fill out and return their ballot the work is still not done. We have to input received ballot information into the state computer. This has been a very busy time as there are many new procedures creating new variables. We have been vigilant with our attention to detail, in order to maintain the integrity of a fair election.
We also offered one week of early voting at the Town Hall before the state primary. I’d like to thank all the poll workers, registrars, the Seekonk post office and others who helped get the thousands of ballots out to the citizens of Seekonk in a timely manner. Vote-by-mail is a new and challenging process but once we got a handle on it, it went smoothly. We now know what to expect for the November election.
November Election Information
There will be a second round of postcard vote-by-mail applications sent by the state in the beginning of September. They will be sent to all registered voters who have NOT already applied to receive a ballot and sent to people who registered to vote after August 22, 2020. To ensure timely delivery of your ballot, it is recommended that you request a November ballot no later than October 20. Applications received after October 28 cannot be accepted. Apply early in order to have enough time to return your ballot.
If you have already sent in your postcard to receive a ballot and checked off wanting a ballot for both elections, or for November only, your request has been inputted and you will get a November 3, 2020 ballot in the mail. Do not request another one by mail. Please note ballots for the November 3rd election will not be printed by the State until the September 1, 2020 Primary has concluded and the election certified. State Elections have said that we should expect to receive the printed Presidential/State Election ballots, for those who have requested mail-in or absentee ballots by the first week of October. Once we receive these ballots, we will send them out to all voters who requested mail-in ballots or absentee ballots.
To return your vote-by-mail ballot you can either mail it back, place it in the drop-box in front of Town Hall, or hand deliver it to the Town Clerk’s office. The deadlines to do this are:
Drop-box - 8pm November 3.
Mail- postmarked by November 3 and received by the Town Clerk by 5PM November 6, 2020.
If you are not a registered voter and would like to register please go to www.sec.state.ma.us this website has everything you need to know about voting in the State of Massachusetts. The deadline to register for the November election is October 24. You can also come in to the Town Clerk’s office and register to vote in person.
There will be in person voting on election day. All precincts vote at the Seekonk High School - 261 Arcade Ave. Polls open at 7:00AM and close at 8:00PM.
There will also be two weeks of early voting held at the Town Hall – 100 Peck St. Board of selectman’s meeting room. See the schedule below.
Presidential Election Early Voting Schedule Early
Safety Protocols for the November Election
In the interests of providing a safe environment for people at our Elections and in concert with the overriding effort to protect the public and the town employees during the COVID pandemic, the following protocols and procedures will be implemented. These plans and operating procedures have been approved by the Seekonk Health Agent. All the usual standards and accommodations of our Elections will continue, other than where noted. The Town Clerk’s office primary goal is to assure both safety and legitimacy of our Town Election.
A record of attendees/voters will be maintained through the voter check- in list should there be a need for contact tracing.
All staff and volunteers associated with the election will participate in self-screening/self –certifying process.
All residents/voters and staff must wear face coverings or masks in accordance with COVID-19 Order No. 31 and the Department of Public Health’s Guidance while inside and while entering and exiting the location. Exceptions for people that are unable to wear a face covering or mask due to a medical or disabling condition.
Voting & Social Distancing: Voters must keep a space between them of 6 feet. The floor will be marked with blue tape to allow for sufficient distance between people.
Poll workers will be 6 feet away from voter when checking people in and out. The poll workers will have gloves on when handing the ballot to a person.
Voters will receive a new pen to use when voting and will be asked to return it to a basket where it will be sanitized, if it needs to be used again.
Voting booths will be regularly sanitized throughout the day.
Voting hours are from 7am – 8pm giving people plenty of time to come to the polls throughout the day hopefully avoid long lines waiting to check-in to vote.
There will be hand sanitizing stations and a bathroom with running water and soap for handwashing.
No social gathering will be allowed in any of the common area
Thank you for voting - please stay healthy and safe!
I realize there is a lot of information to absorb concerning all the different ways to vote along with different deadlines so please do not hesitate to call the Town Clerk’s office if you have any questions.
One might think all we do is elections these days but we are also very busy with all our other daily tasks. We have been particularly busy with marriage certificates this year because some of the surrounding towns and cities have opted not to provide this service. We have been happy to help prospective couples fill out the paper work and even marry quite a few here at Town Hall. If you need information on how to go about getting married please go to the Town Clerk’s page on the Town’s web-site www.seekonk-ma.gov
Town meeting date has been set for November 9, 2020. It will be held at the High School auditorium starting at 7PM.
The Flu vaccine is now available. For more information please contact the Board of Health at 508-336-2950.
Have a wonderful September stay well and remember the Town Clerk’s office welcomes inquiries from all residents seeking assistance, or information in relation to services provided by the Town of Seekonk.
Florice Craig, Town Clerk & Lorraine Sorel, Assistant Town Clerk