Early voting has already begun in some states, but not yet here in Massachusetts. When it does, this state will have expanded early voting like New Jersey and Minnesota. The early voting period here starts 11 business days preceding the election. That's when municipalities are required to have at least one voting site open during normal business hours and leaves the possibility of multiple sites up to each community's discretion. Only one voting site is necessary for smaller towns.

All of this is for, as they say, improving the voting experience. Who says? The Massachusetts Election Modernization Coalition. They figure early voting will ease the anticipated long lines. When the coalition was passing down their recommendations, they recommended non-traditional voting locations. Where, you ask? How about voting at your favorite Market Basket, Shaw's or Stop & Shop? Seriously, they say national research has shown voters prefer locations they do business at. Can you pass the coffee, please?

Well, New Bedford isn't going to mix groceries and voting, but they will provide day and evening hours and weekend hours at least once during early voting. In a future blog to be published soon, I'll give you all the days, times and locations for New Bedford's early voting that begins on Monday, October 24 from 8 am to 4 pm at City Hall in room 114.