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Can I Register to Vote When I Apply for SNAP?

Produced by Patricia Baker and Victoria Negus
Reviewed January 2018

Whenever you apply or recertify for SNAP or cash assistance, the DTA worker is required to tell you how you can register to vote and assist you with voter registration. 106 C.M.R. § 360.950. If you apply in person, you can get a Voter Registration Form at the local DTA office. If you apply for SNAP online or file a paper SNAP application – and you check off that you wish to register to vote – DTA should mail a Voter Registration Form back to you. DTA is required to send the completed Voter Registration Form to your city or town election office with 5 business days of receipt.

DTA is mandated by federal law to ask all SNAP and cash assistance household members who are over age 17 and U.S. citizens if they wish to register to vote for any federal elections. 42 U.S. Code § 1973gg–5. As of August 2016, Massachusetts law also allows 16 and 17 year olds to pre-register to vote, M.G.L. 51 § 42.

Voter registration is optional. DTA will not deny or close your SNAP case if you choose not to complete a voter registration form.  If you apply for SNAP online or you mail in a paper application – and you check off that you wish to register to vote – DTA should mail back a voter registration form for you.

You can also register to vote online if you have a current MA state ID or driver license. You can also get a form mailed to you from the Massachusetts Secretary of State. To find that information, go to the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s Register to Vote web site.

DTA Policy Guidance:

DTA Online Guide:  Cross Programs > Voter Registration > Overview and Administrative Responsibilities > Voter Registration Overview

Additional Guidance
  • DTA informs staff of state law change to allow 16 and 17 year olds to pre-register to vote. OLG Transmittal 2016-60 (December 9, 2016). 
  • Homeless can register to vote and identify location using a map on Sec. of State webpage if they do not have “conventional” address. OLG Transmittal 2015-66 (December 21, 2015)
  • Voter registration procedures revised under agreement with MA Secretary of State settlement in Delgado v Galvin. OLG Transmittal 2015-28 (June 26, 2015)
  • Each DTA office is required to count and record the number of Voter Registration forms received monthly, and mail the forms to local election officials within 5 days of receipt. Ops Memo 2012-34A (October 25, 2012).

Show DTA Policy Guidance

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