Early voting begins Saturday, October 17 in every Massachusetts city and town and runs through Friday, October 30.

Under new state law, every city and town must hold early voting sessions on each Saturday and Sunday during the early voting period that includes the weekends of October 17-18 and October 24-25. Additionally, early voting sites also operate as ballot drop-off locations. The Secretary of the Commonwealth said 1,351,000 vote-by-mail ballots have been mailed out already.

That's 14 consecutive days reserved for early voting, and then there's the actual 2020 general election on Tuesday, November 3, so there's definitely enough opportunity for you to vote.

And if you plan to vote early in person, you'll be checked in, much like you are at your precinct on Election Day. After you fill out your ballot, you'll enclose it into an envelope, to be counted on Election Day, hopefully.

I say hopefully because the unimaginable happened during our primary election on September 1, where 17,872 mail-in ballots were not counted, according to Secretary of State William Galvin. What a terrible shame, plus it cost us taxpayers millions of dollars more. Roughly half of the discarded ballots arrived too late, while others were rejected because of voter error such as no signature. I'm disgusted that the media didn't do a better job getting this news out to help prevent a repeat of it on November 3, when a lot more people will be voting.

Early voting will take place in New Bedford at the main library, downtown, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 8 am. to 2 p.m. on weekends. Please contact your local town election officials for the location and times of early voting where you live.

Your vote always matters because it serves as the great equalizer, and I hope you agree that voting is the cornerstone of our Republic.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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