You may have just received a confirmation mailing postcard. If so, you may be wondering:
What Does Returning Your Census Have to Do With Elections/Voting?
The Annual Town Census is mailed out in January, each year. If you signed and returned your Town Census, great!
Your voter status is active, and no further action is necessary. However, If you did not return your census, which it is very important that you do return your annual census form for several reasons including proof of residency.
Your voter status is determined by returning your census!
The Town Census is used to confirm your residency and keep your voter registration status up to date.
Have you ever been surprised to find that your voter status is inactive (INA) when you go to the polls to vote? For example, you just voted at the last election; how could your voter status possibly be inactive?
Failure to respond to the local census will change your voter registration status to Inactive (INA) again & again each and every year.
So, What Does This Mean For You?
If your voter status has changed from ACTIVE to INACTIVE (INA) for failure to respond to the Annual Town Census, this does not stop you from voting, but will require that you stand in another line to show identification at the polls matching the address on the voter list, and to sign an affidavit of current and continuous residency prior to voting.
Once you do this, your voter status will be updated to active again. If your census is not received the following year, your voter status becomes inactive (INA) again.
Seems like a crazy cycle, right? Here’s why: state law requires that this office change all census non-respondents’ voter status from active to inactive. If a voter does not respond to confirmation mailings, and their voter status remains inactive for four consecutive years, the voter is then eligible to be deleted from the voter list in accordance with Massachusetts general laws, Ch. 51 Sec. 4 (c) the following (fifth) year.
Shorter version: It’s the law. If you do not return the census each and every year, this office is required to change your voter status to INACTIVE. Not sure if you returned your census this year? Check your Voter Status on the Secretary of State’s Office website.
As always, please feel free to contact this office at (978) 453-0951 or visit the Dracut MA | Town Clerk page for additional information.