Skip to Content
The 193rd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 105: Proceedings at close of polls; counting votes; announcing and recording results

Section 105. Procedures at any precinct where an electronic voting system is in use shall be in accordance with the provisions of section one hundred and five A. In any other precinct, if the state ballot box is used, the clerk shall, as soon as the polls are closed, record the total number of ballots received at the polling place, the ballot box register, and the total number of spoiled ballots. The election officers shall then publicly and in the presence of the other election officers, audibly and distinctly count and announce the number of names checked on each voting list used at the election, shall publicly announce the number so counted and thereafter the clerk shall record the same. The ballot box shall be opened by the presiding officer and the ballots taken therefrom and audibly counted in public view, one by one, and the whole number of ballots cast shall be publicly announced by him. The ballots may be divided into convenient packages, and each block or package shall be canvassed and counted by two election officers representing the two leading political parties, detailed by the presiding officer. The result of the canvass and count shall be reported to the presiding officer, who shall cause it to be correctly recorded on the blank forms provided therefor. Immediately thereafter, the election officers shall proceed to count audibly all unused ballots, and the total number of unused ballots shall be publicly announced by the presiding officer who shall cause this information to be correctly recorded on blank forms provided therefor.

The clerk in open meeting shall publicly announce the result of the vote and enter on the total vote sheet, which shall be considered the precinct record, the total number of names checked on the voting list, the total number of ballots cast, the names of all persons voted for, the number of votes for each person and the title of the office for which he was a candidate, the number of blank ballots for each office, and the number of affirmative and negative votes in answer to any question submitted to the voters and shall forthwith certify such record, seal up the same, and deliver it, outside of the ballot container or envelope, but in a separate sealed envelope, to the city or town clerk, who shall forthwith enter it on his records; provided, that if voting machines are used, the general or precinct record sheet, as the case may be, shall be the record referred to in this paragraph.

At state elections, the city or town clerk, or such person as he shall designate in each precinct or polling place, shall immediately transmit to such central tabulation facilities as the state secretary shall designate, by telephone or telegraph, the vote cast for candidates for offices to be voted for by all the voters of the commonwealth and for congressman, by precincts or by polling places as the count for each such office is completed.

The voting lists and all ballots removed from the ballot box shall be kept in open view of the voters present until enclosed and sealed up, and all proceedings in the canvass and counting of votes shall be public and in open view of the voters, and there shall be no adjournment or postponement until the canvass and counting have been completed, and the voting lists and ballots have been enclosed and sealed up.

Upon the completion of the canvass and the counting, the warden shall place all ballots including absentee ballots, and all lists into a container and place a seal upon all such containers. The clerk shall receive from all the polling places such sealed containers and shall place all election material, so far as practical, in a locked facility.

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, the clerks of precincts or the town clerk in a town not divided into precincts may, if authorized in writing by the election commissioners or election commission in a city having such a body, by the city clerk in any other city or by the town clerk in a town, publicly announce the number of votes cast for each candidate for each office as soon as the count of ballots for that office has been completed, and the number of affirmative or negative votes cast upon any question submitted to the voters, as soon as the count of ballots upon such question has been completed.