Early voting underway in Boston

Voters lined up at the entrance to the Richard J. Murphy School in Dorchester. Ed Forry photo

Election officials have already mailed more than 110,000 ballots to voters in Boston and the city on Thursday launched 17 drop box sites where residents can submit their ballots.

With early voting set to launch Saturday across the state, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said at a Thursday press conference that more than 130,000 Bostonians submitted applications for mail-in ballots, 84 percent of which have been fulfilled.

So far, 7,500 people have returned completed ballots, said Walsh, who encouraged voters to take advantage of drop boxes and early voting hours to avoid crowds and potential COVID-19 risks.

"Every location will be prepared with spacing guidelines, cleaning protocols and PPE," Walsh said. "The more people that early vote, the more people that do mail-in ballots, the fewer people we'll have in-person voting on Election Day, which will cut down the lines that will be at the voting locations."

The city announced its drop box locations were available Thursday for voters to deposit their ballots rather than return them through the mail. Boxes are open 24/7 at Boston City Hall and more than a dozen Boston Public Library branches across the city.

Drop boxes will also be placed at each early voting location while those operate from Oct. 17 to Oct. 30.

Early voting will be held on Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 17-18) at the Richard J. Murphy School on Worrell Street in Dorchester from 11 a.m.- 7 p.m.

Other local early voting locations and times include:

On Thurs., Oct. 22, early voting will be held at the Strand Theatre in Uphams Corner from 12-8 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 24 and Sun., Oct. 25 from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. at the BCYF Perkins Gym, 155 Talbot Ave., Dorchester and the Mildred Avenue K-8 School, 5 Mildred Ave., Mattapan; and the Kroc Center, 650 Dudley St., Dorchester.

Thursday, Oct. 29 from 12-8 p.m. at Florian Hall, 55 Hallet St., Dorchester; and Mattapan Teen Center, 10 Hazelton St., Mattapan.