Voting FAQs

Information for Voters from the Secretary of the Commonwealth

Where do I vote?

The polling place is at the Houghton Elementary School gym,  32 Boutelle Road. Both precincts are at the same location.

Out of Town Election Day?  You may vote by absentee ballot at the Town Clerk’s Office up to 12 noon the day before the Election.  If you wish an absentee ballot mailed, you must complete an application. The application is available online or at the Town Clerk’s Office. Click here for Military or Overseas Absentee ballot request.

How do I register to vote?

Voter registration has never been easier than it is today. You may register:

  • online
  • by mail
  • in person

You may visit the Town Clerk's Office at Butterick Building and complete a voter registration form. Mail-in forms also may be obtained by calling the State Elections Division at (800) 462-VOTE or requesting a form via email.  The state registries of motor vehicles, social service agencies and military recruitment offices also provide voter registration services.

You will remain on the voter list each year if you complete the Annual Census. If you move to another city or town, you must register in that town or city.  Voter rolls do not automatically transfer when you move. Any person who is a Massachusetts resident, a United States citizen and will be eighteen years old as of the next election is eligible to register to vote. The penalty for fraudulent registration is fine of $10,000 or imprisonment for up to 5 years, or both.

Are there deadlines for registering to vote?

You must register to vote at least 20 days before any Town or State election.

For Special Town Elections or Special Town Meetings the deadline is 10 days prior.

Who can run for public office?

Any person who is a Sterling resident and a registered voter may obtain nomination papers for the May Annual Town Election ballot from the Town Clerk's Office. Nomination papers are available at the Town Clerk’s office each year after January 20th. Please call for availability and deadlines. Candidates running for town wide office usually require 39 valid signatures to be on the ballot.  Please note that you will be required to file (3) campaign finance forms when you take office:

  • 8 days prior to the Town Election
  • 30 days after the Town Election and
  • end of year report that first year (due January 20th)

In order to be considered a viable candidate on Election Day you must receive the number of votes that was required to have your name placed on the ballot.  That number is 1% of the total number of people who voted in the last race for governor in this town.  If you win the seat you may either accept, or decline the nomination.  If you accept, you must submit a letter to the town clerk of your acceptance and you must be sworn in before you may attend of any board or committee meeting in an official capacity. Questions? Send email.

What Voting District is Sterling in?

  • U. S. Congress As of January 1, 2013, Sterling will be in the 2nd Congressional District.  This is due to the changes in population from the 2010 Federal Census.  A map is available on the wall of Butterick building in front of the Town Clerk's office.
  • State Senate - Worcester and Middlesex District
  • State House of Representatives - Sterling is represented by two:
    • 1st Worcester District (Precinct 1) and
    • 12th Worcester District (Precinct 2)
  • MA District Attorney - Middle District
  • Governor’s Council - Seventh District

How do I run a Write-In Campaign?

If you missed the opportunity to pick up nomination papers before the deadline, you may run on a sticker or write-in campaign.  Notify the Town Clerk's Office of your intention to run with the following information:

  •  Name
  •  Address
  •  Candidacy