Census Impact on Voter Registration

Failure to Respond

If you are a registered voter, failure to respond shall result in removal from the active voting list and may result in removal from the voter registration rolls, turning you into an inactive voter.

Inactive Voters

An inactive voter is a voter who failed to answer the census.

Every summer, registered voters who failed to respond to either the first or second census mailing are made inactive. Voters who are made inactive are immediately sent confirmation cards, which the voter can send back to be reinstated as active or to report an address change.

Voters can also be reinstated to the active voting list by either voting in an election or signing a petition or nomination paper. When inactive voters arrive at the polling place, they will be asked to show identification and will need to fill out an Affirmation of Current and Continuous Residence. After the election, they will be reinstated to the active voting list.

If a voter remains inactive for two federal election cycles, which means that he or she did not answer the census or vote for four years, the voter will be removed from the voter registration rolls.

Voter Registration Status

If you are registered to vote, there will be a letter on the census form next to your name in the column titled "voter." The letter in the voter column represents your political party:

  • D=Democrat,
  • J=Green-Rainbow
  • R=Republican
  • U=Unenrolled (no party), and any other letters refer to political designations.

Please note, returning your census form to the Election Commission does not register you to vote. You can only register to vote in person or using a mail-in voter registration form.

You can find a mail-in voter registration form at any post office or library in Cambridge, or you can return the request form that you received with your census form, and we will mail you a voter registration form. You may register to vote and find additional information on the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts page.

Updating Voter Information

If you are a registered voter and you would like to update your name, party, or address, make the change on your census form and make sure that you have signed the form. If the form is signed by another member of your family, your census will be counted but we will not be able to make the change to your voter registration.

If more than one person in your family would like to make a change to their voter registration, each person would have to sign the form.