Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

How to vote in a primary


Flickr/Bruce Charles
(Flickr/Bruce Charles)

As many people know by this point, the United States is in the midst of a presidential election season. By the end of this year, we will know who our next president will be. To get there, though, we first have to make it through the primary elections, which are arguably just as important as, if not more important than, the general election in November.

For Massachusetts voters, the primaries will be held on Tuesday, March 1, 2016, but you probably need to start thinking about how you are going to vote before March rolls around. Unless you are registered to vote in Amherst or somewhere else close by, you will have to look into absentee voting. Don’t worry though because voting, including absentee voting, is very easy and will not take too much time.

First, make sure you are eligible and registered to vote. If you have not registered or are unsure if you are eligible, you can go online to They have some information on voting, as well as an online application to register. If you prefer to register in person to vote, you can go to the Amherst Town Clerk’s Office at 4 Boltwood Ave. Additionally, you can also call 1-800-462-VOTE to register.

One important thing to keep in mind is that to vote in the Massachusetts primary elections, you must register at least 20 days before the election, or Feb. 10 in this case. When you register, you can also select to register with a political party. To remain independent, make sure to check off “Unenrolled.” Unenrolled voters can still vote in the primaries.

So after you are registered, you are now able to vote in this election, as well as any future ones.  If you registered close by, you can just go to the polls on March 1. However, you may be registered in your home town, which may be far away from Amherst. To vote, you can complete an absentee ballot.

You can acquire an absentee ballot in a number of ways. Absentee ballots allow you to vote before Election Day if you cannot make it to your polling place on the day of the election. You can visit the Amherst Town Clerk’s Office if you want to receive a ballot in person, or you can also email [email protected] for an absentee ballot. Another option is to contact the local town clerk where you are registered to vote, and they will be able to send you a ballot.

Finally, look up the candidates to see which person and party match best with your ideals. Always remember to learn who or what you are voting for before you turn in your ballot, and be proud of the fact that you have had a say in the direction our country will take!


Joe Frank is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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