PLYMOUTH (CBS) – It’s the day before the primary in Plymouth and as workers pick up what they’ll need at the polls, voters drop off their mail-in ballots. The town clerk said of the 13,000 ballots mailed, some 7,300 have, so far, made it back.
“I believe it was August 4 that we started sending out ballots, and it took about three weeks. The ballot applications didn’t stop, in fact they’re still coming in so unfortunately not everyone will get a ballot,” said Plymouth Town Clerk Pearl Sears.
In July, Governor Charlie Baker signed a reform bill allowing voters to cast their ballots by mail without an excuse. Ahead of the August 26 deadline, state officials said more than a million voters applied. By noon Monday, 60% had mailed ballots back.
“Every ballot that’s received [Tuesday] by mail will have to go to the polling place. But not by the voter, it’ll have to pre-checked at the city or town hall. That’s to verify that they’ve not already voted,” said Secretary of State William Galvin, trying to allay concerns about possible complications.
Galvin maintains he’s confident in the process and the deadline, recently challenged by primary candidate Becky Grossman, who fought for a 10-day extension before the Supreme Judicial Court. A judge ended up ruling the deadline was reasonable and constitutional.
“The reason that we went to court is very simple, to make sure that every single vote that is cast is counted,” Grossman said. “Right now Donald Trump is actively trying to sabotage the postal service, he’s trying to undermine the process of vote by mail.”
Concerned her ballot wouldn’t make it in time, Grossman delivered it to a designated drop box outside Newton City Hall. The Newton councilwoman is now using the last few hours of her campaign to make sure voters know their options. She’s one of nine candidates in a crowded race for Joe Kennedy’s seat, representing the fourth congressional district.
“With the postal service under attack, with [a lack of] clarity from the postal service right now about how long it’s taking for a piece of mail to travel, thousands of votes across the Commonwealth stand to go uncounted,” said Grossman, “I don’t think that’s right.”
Ballots must reach local election officers by 8 pm Tuesday, September 1. Voters can hand deliver ballots to designated drop boxes and track them here. If it hasn’t been received by September 1, they can vote in person.