Election Day is less than 6 weeks away, and for the first time ever, Massachusetts voters can now request a mail-in ballot online without submitting any physical paperwork.

Secretary of State William Galvin launched an online portal Wednesday, www.mailmyballotma.com, allowing all registered voters to ask their local election officials for a mail-in general election ballot.

During the cycle leading up to the Sept. 1 primaries, voters had to send back applications they received in the mail from Galvin’s office or print and submit the paperwork themselves.

“My hope is that this new online portal will cut down on the time it takes for voters to apply for their ballots, by eliminating the need for a local election official to wait for the application to arrive in the mail,’ Galvin said. “This will allow voters to get their ballots sooner and return them in plenty of time for them to be counted.”

Groups like MassVOTE — a nonpartisan voting rights organization – say safe, simple access to voting is crucial. They support the new online portal.

“In taking steps to make voting as easy as possible, the state is not only protecting public health, but they’re expanding public access,” Policy and Communications Manager Alex Psilakis said.

Galvin previously urged voters to submit mail-in ballot applications by Oct. 20 to ensure enough processing and shipping time ahead of the Nov. 3 election.

The portal is the latest step in an expansion of mail-in voting this year to ensure access to the ballot box amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under a bill Gov. Charlie Baker signed in July, all voters are eligible to vote by mail with no excuses.

Though not all voters support the idea. Some say they are concerned about fraud.

“You know this business of mail-in ballots is very very troubling, it worries me,” Greg Kerkorian said.

Those who prefer in-person voting may have the chance to cast their ballots at Fenway Park. City officials are expected to approve the historic ballpark as an early voting venue this week.

Massachusetts in late August offered its first-ever period of early voting before a primary election, and communities will also host in-person early voting from Oct. 17 to Oct. 30.

(Copyright (c) 2024 State House News Service.

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