A call to Deputy Jury Commissioner, John Cavanaugh, put to rest the belief that registering to vote has any influence on your selection for jury duty. "Each city and town clerk maintains, in a database, two lists – one of registered voters and one of all residents. They give us the all resident list... which includes non-voters," Cavanaugh said.
The Jury Commission maintains a page on their website that details how names are selected for jury duty. Lists of registered voters don't enter the process. http://www.mass.gov/courts/jury/the.htm
With that said, it's time for those who are not registered to Vote on November 4th, to fill out the forms they need and register.
Here are the key voter registration details from the Election Division's site: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/Ele/eleifv/howreg.htm
"There is no waiting period to be eligible to register to vote. If you move, you may register to vote as soon as you move into your new home.
You may register to vote:
- in person or by mail, by completing a mail-in registration form and delivering it to your city or town election office, or
- at any local election office in any city or town in the state and at any registration event you encounter anywhere in Massachusetts, or
- when applying for or renewing your driver's license at the Registry of Motor Vehicles or when applying for service at a designated voter registration agency."
You can download a national voter registration form, accepted by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, here:
Deadlines for voters:
- Voter registration - 20 days before the election.
- The mail-in date this year is: October 15, 2008.
Should you need an absentee ballot, for one of the reasons accepted
by the Commonwealth, you need to have that application filed by noon
the day before the election.
Here's a link to download an application and review what is required for absentee ballots. http://www.sec.state.ma.us/Ele/eleifv/howabs.htm
If you were on a jury, and convinced the accused was innocent, would you be strong enough to vote alone, time after time, and ultimately hang the jury? Linda Cox was. In her memoir, "Lone Holdout," she tells the tale of the trial, stressful days in the jury room and her personal quest to defend an innocent man. Here's my full review of the book.
Words: Penny Cherubino
Photography: © 2008 Penny Cherubino