NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The last day to register to vote or make changes on your party affiliation for the September primary is Friday, Aug. 17.
But citizens should know that you've only got until 5 p.m. that day in many communities.
The registration deadline is set 20 days before a primary. Normally that falls on a Wednesday but this year's primary is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 6 — putting the last day for registration on a Friday, in August.
Secretary of State William F. Galvin is using a directive under his emergency powers to allow municipal clerks and voter registration boards to close registration three hours earlier than the statutory 8 p.m.
Since many communities have early or no town hall hours on Fridays, they were given the ability to close at 5, said Galvin spokesman Brian McNiff on Tuesday. "The clerks were notified that hours for registering to vote are 9 to 5, however, if a community wishes to stay open until 8 they can."
North Adams City Hall, for example, closes at 1 p.m. on Fridays during the summer; in Clarksburg, the town offices are normally closed on Friday.
North Adams City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau said her office will be open from 8 to 5 on Friday; Adams Town Clerk Haley A. Meczywor's office will also be open until 5.
To ensure you make the registration deadline, call ahead to find out when your town clerk's office will be open.
Those who wish to register or to change their party enrollment can also come in during regular office hours this week, which is 8:30 to 4 in Adams and from 8 to 4:30 in North Adams.
To register, one must be at least age 18 by the date of the election, a U.S. citizen and a resident of the municipality in which you are voting. If you have changed your name, moved to a new town or, in some places, failed to respond to your local census, you will need to re-register.
Absentee ballots are now available; the deadline to request an absentee ballot is noon on Wednesday, Sept. 5. The polls will be open on Thursday, Sept. 6, from 7 to 8 p.m. Voting locations can be found here.
Meczywor also advises persons who sign up at the Registry of Motor Vehicles to bring the receipt with them to the polls. Residents may encounter problems on election day because Registry data is often not transmitted in time to town halls.
Candidates below are listed in the order they will appear on the ballot
U.S. Senator: Elizabeth Warren
Congressman, 1st District: Richard E. Neal, Andrew F. Nuciforo Jr., Bill Shein
Governor's Council: Michael J. Albano, Gerry Roy, Kevin J. Sullivan
State Senator: Benjamin B. Downing
1st Berkshire: Gailanne Cariddi
2nd Berkshire: Paul W. Mark
3rd Berkshire: Tricia Farley-Bouvier
4th Berkshire: William "Smitty" Pignatelli
Clerk of Courts: Deborah S. Capeless
Register of Deeds, Middle District: Patsy Harris, Jody L. Phillips, Scott M. Pignatelli
Berkshire Northern: Frances T. Brooks
Berkshire Southern: No nominations
U.S. Senator: Scott P. Brown
Governor's Council, 8th District: Michael F. Case, Michael Franco
No nominatons for other offices
State Representative, 4th Berkshire: Lee Scott Laugenour
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The last day to register to vote in the election is Wednesday, June 5.
You may vote absentee: if you will be absent from your town or city on election day, have a physical disability that prevents you from voting at the polls or cannot vote at the polls because to religious beliefs.
Absentee ballots are available at town and city clerk offices until noon on June 24.