More Than 42,000 Mass. Mail-In Ballots Received On Or After Election Day

A voter places an election ballot in a ballot drop-off box in Somerville. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
A voter places an election ballot in a ballot drop-off box in Somerville. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

A little over 1% of the ballots cast in Massachusetts in 2020 arrived in the mail or were placed by voters in drop boxes on or after Election Day, according to the secretary of state's office, adding to the record number of voters who participated in this year's election.

Secretary of State William Galvin's office reported Monday that preliminary counts show that 42,602 ballots were received by local clerks by mail or in drop boxes since 7 a.m. on Election Day. Under a new state law this year that expanded voting by mail due to the pandemic, ballots postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by local clerks by Nov. 6 could be counted.

"The number of ballots received will continue to change throughout the week, as some local election officials are still processing ballots that arrived or after Election Day and are also still resolving provisional ballots and receiving ballots mailed from overseas," Galvin spokeswoman Deb O'Malley said.

The ballots that arrived by mail on or after Election Day so far amount to about 1.2% of the more than 3.5 million ballots cast, though counting continues and the totals have yet to be certified.

With eyes glued to vote counting in states like Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia for days after the close of the polls last Tuesday, counting in states like Massachusetts also continues despite little doubt about who won the major races. President-elect Joe Biden appears to have prevailed with close to 66% of the vote in Massachusetts and U.S. Sen. Ed Markey claimed victory with 66.5%.

Ballots that had been cast on or before Election Day and arrived by the close of business last Friday may be counted under state law, but clerks must first check those ballots against the list of voters to make sure that person didn't decide to show up on Election Day and vote in person instead.

Official results cannot not be certified until 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13, which is the deadline for overseas ballots to arrive, and clerks have five days from that deadline to certify the local results before they are presented to the governor and the Governor's Council for final certification.



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