It is acceptable to use pencil to fill in a ballot

Huntington has historically used pencil to mark ballots

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – There is no law that specifically states that ballots have to be marked in pen, according to Secretary of State William Galvin’s office. Pen is encouraged, but pencil marks still count.

Holyoke City Clerk Brenna Murphy McGee encourages absentee and early voters using pencil to mark their ballots clearly; “Pencil is not permanent and marker is. I think that makes people feel more comfortable in the voting system that they do have a clear vote that is permanent, and they didn’t use pencil that could be erased potentially.”

A Huntington resident emailed 22News because she was concerned that she’d been directed to use a pencil.  22News spoke with Huntington Selectman, John McVeigh who said the town has historically used pencil to mark ballots.

McVeigh described the process for 22News.  “They vote with pencil, after which the ballots are sealed in envelopes and remain sealed until they are counted.  No pencils are allowed at the tables where the votes are counted,” McVeigh said.

McVeigh explained that Huntington uses pencils to allow a voter to change his or her mind before placing a ballot in the ballot box.

Ballots are counted by hand in Huntington.