Bare Minimum Of Resident Show Interest In Running For Town Offices, Meeting


With a little more than 24 hours remaining to submit nomination papers for the 2018 Town Election, the overriding question would appear to be: anyone out there?

With the deadline of Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 5 p.m. fast approaching, Belmont voters could be rubber stamps on April 3 when eligible voters head for the polls as for the first time in more than a decade, the town could lack a competitive race not just for town-wide offices but also Town Meeting in each of Belmont’s eight precincts.

While a number of residents have taken out nomination papers, many have yet to be submitted for certification as of Monday morning.

According to Town Clerk Ellen Cushman, as of Feb. 12, the potential ballot for the 2018 Town Election sets up to look as below:

  • Town Moderator Michael J. Widmer 
  • Board of Selectmen (three-year term) Thomas Caputo
  • Board of Assessors (three-year term) Martin B. Millane, Jr.
  • Board of Cemetery Commissioners (three-year termEllen O’Brien Cushman
  • Board of Health (three-year term) Stephen Fiore
  • Housing Authority (three-year term) Gloria Leipzig
  • Trustees of the Public Library (two three-year terms) Elaine C. Alligood and Corinne McCue Olmsted
  • School Committee (two three-year terms), Susan Burgess-Cox and Tara Donner
  • School Committee (one single year term) Lisa B. Fiore

Unless stragglers come in with their papers, there will be open seats without a declared candidate in each of Belmont’s precincts. The current ballot looks as below:

  • Precinct 1: 11 candidates for 12 three-year seats; no candidates for two two-year term.  
  • Precinct 2: 10 candidates for 12 three-year seats. one candidate for a single year term.
  • Precinct 3: 7 candidates for 12 three-year seats;
  • Precinct 4: 10 candidates for 12 three-year seats;
  • Precinct 5: 11 candidates for 12 three-year seats; no candidates for two two-year term.  
  • Precinct 6: 11 candidates for 12 three-year seats;
  • Precinct 7: 11 candidates for 12 three-year seats; and 
  • Precinct 8: 11 candidates for 12 three-year seats.

Belmont Requires Yard Sale Permits – Which Are Free and Online

Photo: Get your permit now.

With summer underway and the weekends filled with signs pointing to the nearest garage sale, the Belmont Town Clerk’s office wants to remind all residents that via town bylaw a permit is required for all “yard sales,” with a limit of three in a calendar year.

“If you intend to hold a private sale as defined in the bylaw, you must first register and receive a free permit issued by the Town Clerk’s office,” says Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman. Private sales include yard and garage sales, tag sales, moving sales and estate sales.

But fear not: obtaining a permit is so easy, you don’t have to go to Town Hall to get yours. 

Residents can file for the Private Sale permit by going to the Town Clerk’s web page on the Town’s website select ‘Yard Sale Permit.’ Registering for the free permit takes less than two minutes as the resident fills in an online form with the date, time, address of the sale and contact information about the sponsor. Once submitted, the free permit will be emailed automatically to you.

Residents who are unable to access email may call or visit the Town Clerk’s office and the staff will be happy to help. The Town Clerk’s office can be reached at 617-993-2600 or 

Sellers will also get a bit of free advertising. Yard Sale shoppers may use the web page to view a map of registered Belmont Yard Sales or print a list of registered Yard Sales for the upcoming two weeks.  

Dash Joins Selectmen; Williams Selected Board Chair

Photo: The new board: Mark Paolillo (left), Jim Williams and Adam Dash

Adam Dash had arrived early Wednesday morning, April 5, at Town Hall waiting to be sworn in as Belmont’s newest Selectman by Town Clerk Ellen Cushman.

But Dash and his supporters, many who celebrated the candidate’s big victory over challenger Guy Carbone just hours before at the winner’s Goden Street house, weren’t the only one’s waiting for the Town Clerk. Eric and Britney had come to Belmont’s Town Hall to fill out a marriage certificate since the clerk’s office was the earliest in the area to open which allowed the couple to get hitched before heading off to work.

Dash said he would happily let the to-be bride and groom cut in line before him “because they are signing up for a lifetime commitment and I’m only doing so for three years.” 

A few minutes after 8 a.m., Cushman formally swore Dash into office, and he joined his two new colleagues – current board members Jim Williams and Mark Paolillo – in his first Selectmen’s meeting. 

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During the annual organizational meeting held the day after Town Election, Williams was unanimously elected to serve as chair, with Paolillo taking over as vice chair.

The selection came a year after Williams felt Paolillo and former selectman Sami Baghdady – whose seat Dash now occupies – joined against him gaining the chairmanship due to his campaign highlighting a solution to better manage OPEB and pension payments.

But on Wednesday morning, each board member spoke of working together in a cooperative manner. 

“We accomplished a lot last year and while not always agreeing” on issues,” said Williams.

Know Before You Vote: Town Election Is April 4; Are You Ready?

Photo: Town Clerk’s Office

Belmont’s Town Election is approximately two weeks away and it is now time for residents to check your voter registration, party affiliation, voting status, their precinct and polling location to save time and avoid frustration on Election Day.

Where do I vote?

Belmont’s voting precincts and locations:

  • Precinct 1 – Belmont Memorial Library, Assembly Room, 336 Concord Ave.
  • Precinct 2 – Town Hall, Selectmen’s Room, 455 Concord Ave.
  • Precinct 3 – Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.
  • Precinct 4 – Butler School gymnasium, 90 White St.
  • Precinct 5 – Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.
  • Precinct 6 – Fire Headquarters, 299 Trapelo Rd.
  • Precinct 7 – Burbank School gymnasium, 266 School St.
  • Precinct 8 – Winn Brook School gymnasium, 97 Waterhouse Rd. (Enter from Cross Street)

Who is on the April 4 ballot?

Belmont’s Town-wide officers, including Board of Selectmen, School Committee, Treasurer, Moderator, Board of Assessors, Board of Health, Board of Cemetery Commissioners, Library Trustees and Town Meeting Members in each of our eight precincts, will be on the ballot.

View the sample ballots for April 4.

Who can take out an absentee ballot?

Absentee ballots are now available for this election; Early Voting is not available for local elections. Voters who qualify for absentee ballots by being out of Belmont on Election Day or have a medical issue making voting in person on Election Day too challenging or have a conflict on voting day due to religious reasons, may request an Absentee Ballot be mailed to them or may vote in person at the Town Clerk’s office. Requests for Absentee Ballots must be in writing and include the voter’s signature.

What is your voting status and how to register to vote?

Find information about your current voter registration.

To register to vote using the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s secure online system.

Or visit the Town Clerk’s web page and select Town Clerk, Elections: Register to Vote or Check Voter Status.

Also visit Belmont Town Clerk Elections: Information for Residents and Media or email to:

Town Clerk’s Office Closed Tuesday for Election Audit

Photo: Handcount will be underway Tuesday.

The Belmont Town Clerk’s office will be closed Tuesday, Nov. 15 as the town undergoes an audit of results from the Presidential Election for one of the town’s precincts.

Now before anyone believes that residents of Belmont Hill are committing widespread voter fraud, according to Town Clerk Ellen Cushman, the review is part of the state’s post-election evaluation prescribed by the 2014 Election Reform Laws.

Cushman said the law requires the state to audit three percent of the Commonwealth’s 2,200 precincts.

“The random drawing of the precincts occurred on Thursday morning, Nov. 10 and I was advised Thursday afternoon by the Secretary of the Commonwealth that Belmont Precinct 2 was chosen to participate, along with 65 other precincts statewide,” said Cushman.

Belmont’s audit/hand recount will take place in the Homer Building Gallery on Tuesday, Nov. 15 beginning at 9 a.m.; the last day permitted by law.

The town’s Board of Registrars will be conducting the audit/hand recount of Precinct 2 ballots cast and received on or before Election Day, Nov. 8, including all of the Early Voting Ballots and Absentees as well as Overseas and Military Absentee received by close of polls on Election Day.

Cushman said she “had an enthusiastic response from my election workers to participate in the audit/hand recount.” She hopes to conclude the process by 1 p.m. or 2 p.m.


Saturday Early Voting, 9AM-4PM, As 2,184 Residents Have Cast Ballots

Photo: Early voting in Belmont.

Belmont residents will have the opportunity to cast their Presidential ballot over the weekend as the town has extended early voting hours to Saturday, Oct. 29. 

Registered voters will be able to have their voices heard between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Belmont Town Hall, said Town Clerk Ellen Cushman.

Since early voting began this past Monday, 2,184 or 12.3 percent of voters cast their ballots as of Friday afternoon, Oct. 28, said Cushman. Belmont has a total of 17,826 registered voters.

If Belmontians can’t make it to the polls Saturday, they will have five days of early voting remaining:

  • Monday, Oct. 31; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 1; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 2;  8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, Nov. 3; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 4; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Nearly 400 Cast Ballots on First Day of Early Voting in Belmont

Photo: Tom Dolan of Clifton Street casts the first early election ballot in Belmont.

Just before 8 a.m., Monday, Oct. 24, Greg Poulos and his daughter, Linnea, entered Belmont Town Hall on a mission: To vote.


Greg and Linnea Poulos, first in line to vote.

The Poulos’, who live on Oak Avenue, joined 386 of their fellow residents Monday who took advantage of the new state law allowing for early voting for the first time in Massachusetts, according to Belmont’s Town Clerk Ellen Cushman who spoke before the Belmont Board of Selectmen Monday evening.

The Commonwealth now joins more than half of the states in the US who allow voters the chance to cast ballots ahead of election day, said Cushman, who said the Secretary of State’s office predicts about 15 percent of the electorate are expected to take advantage of the changes to voting early. In Belmont, that would be between 2,700 to 3,000 voters.

For residents, the main reason for voting early was expediency.

“I want my vote to count early,” said Greg. “I didn’t want to deal with lines, and I like the convenience of it.”

For Linnea, a student at UMass Amherst, she’ll be in western Massachusetts in 15 days. Usually, she would have picked up an absentee ballot from the Town Clerks office, “but this makes it much easier [to vote].”

“I need to get this over with. I need this to be done,” said Clifton Street’s Tom Dolan, who joined the Poulos’ and School Committee member Andrea Prestwich as the voting early birds.

As eight o’clock arrived, the group was ushered by a gaggle of poll workers through a three-step process that sent them on a tour of various room on the first floor of Town Hall: picking up a ballot, then being verified as a registered voter and finally casting their votes in a specialty constructed ballot box.

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“We always like to throw the party and have people come,” said Cushman, excited to see a steady stream of residents coming to vote.

Cushman said her office has been working to create a comprehensive plan since the law was passed in 2014. Her office has hired approximately 115 poll workers to speed the process. 

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Cushman said Belmont has extended hours on most weekdays and on Saturday. The town has also set aside parking in the Town Hall lot for early voters, and the building will be staffed by poll workers to make the process as conflict-free as possible.

Belmont is one of 34 communities award with a gold medal by the Massachusetts Election Modernization Coalition for going far beyond the minimum requirements in terms of hours and availability.

The first voter to finish the process was Dolan who slipped his ballot in the box – after it was checked for a second time to see that it was empty. 

“Seamless, every easy,” Dolan said of the process. “Probably do this again next time.”


Town Wide, Town Meeting Nomination Papers Available Next Week

Photo: Nomination papers 

Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman told The Belmontonian nomination papers for Town Meeting and Town-wide office will be available at the Clerk’s Office starting next week. 

Cushman said she has yet to set the deadline for returning nomination papers to the Town Clerk’s office. 

The 2016 Town Election will take place on Tuesday, April 5. 

If you’re thinking of running for elected office in Belmont, Cushman is advising potential “runners” to take a look at the guide for Belmont’s elected government and how to run for elected office in the “Town of Homes.”

To be considered a candidate for town-wide office (such as selectman, school committee and several boards), you must be at least 18 years old and a registered voter in Belmont.

All candidates for town-wide office must secure the signatures of at least 50 registered Belmont voters. Cushman recommends that more signatures are collected and submitted in the event that some signatures are invalid. Holiday parties and get-togethers are great places to start gathering signatures.

Town Meeting Members whose terms expire in 2016 will receive a letter from the Town Clerk’s office by January asking if you would like to be considered a candidate for re-election. The member must sign and return the affirmation form to the Town Clerk’s office to be considered a candidate for re-election. 

Candidates for Town Meeting must secure the signatures of at least 25 registered voters from the precinct and return the signed nomination papers. Once again, Cushman recommends that more signatures are collected and submitted in the event that some signatures are invalid.

Town Clerk: The FYI on the Annual Town Election

Photo: Election day in Belmont.

The annual Belmont Town Election will take place in one week, Tuesday, April 7, 2015, according to Town Clerk Ellen Cushman.

And below is information that will make the process of casting your ballot all the easier.

Voting Places

For voting purposes, Belmont is divided into eight voting precincts, located as follows: 

  • Precinct 1 – Belmont Memorial Library, Assembly Room, 336 Concord Ave.
  • Precinct 2 – Belmont Town Hall, Selectmen’s Room, 455 Concord Ave.
  • Precinct 3 – Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.
  • Precinct 4 – Daniel Butler School, Gymnasium, 90 White St.
  • Precinct 5 – Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.
  • Precinct 6 – Belmont Fire Headquarters, 299 Trapelo Rd.
  • Precinct 7 – Burbank School, Gymnasium, 266 School St.
  • Precinct 8 – Winn Brook School, Gymnasium, 97 Waterhouse Rd. (Enter from Cross Street)

Please adhere to the posted parking restrictions and use caution to ensure safety of pedestrians around the voting precincts.

Election Day Campaigning

The Town Clerk and the Board of Registrars of Voters reminds all residents that no campaign signs, stickers, buttons or materials may be displayed within 150 feet of each polling place. This prohibition, per Massachusetts General Laws, Ch. 54, §65, even extends to a candidate whose name is on the ballot, when the candidate is not actively voting.  The maps that display the 150 foot radius are posted on the Town Clerk’s website under Campaigning: Running for Elected Office and Town Meeting.

Are You Registered to Vote in Belmont and Eligible to Vote April 7? 

If you are wondering if you are a registered voter and/or your voting precinct, please go to the

Town Clerk’s webpage

or phone the Town Clerk’s office at 617-993-2600. 

The deadline to register to vote and make changes to voter registration such as address was March 18 at 8 p.m. Any forms received after that date or not postmarked by that date will be process AFTER the April 7 election.

Election Results – How Do I Find Out the Results?

Election results for each precinct are announced by the Warden of each precinct after the close of the polls. The Unofficial Townwide Results will be announced at Town Hall and posted on the home page of the Town website as soon as they are available Tuesday evening or phone the  Town Clerk’s office at 617-993-2600 on Wednesday morning.  Campaign representatives are welcome to wait at Town Hall for the printed results.

Less Than a Week to Turn In Town Meeting, Town Wide Nomination Papers

The good news, said Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman, is the number of residents who took out nomination papers will result in competitive races in nearly all of Belmont’s eight precincts.

The bad news, see added, is that many potential candidates have yet to turn in those papers with the signature of 25 Belmontians to her.

“They’ve taken them out, and now I’m waiting for them to bring them back,” said Cushman today, Feb. 11.

And the deadline for the papers to be in and certified by Cushman is looming quite large.

“They only have six day, until Feb. 17 at 5 p.m. And when the bell rings, they’ll lose their chance,” said Cushman, pointing to a call bell next to the old-style time stamp machine on the Office’s front desk.

Belmont’s eight precincts will be electing 12 Town Meeting Members in addition to any partial-term seats. Cushman opened a folder for one of the precincts and showed the sign-out sheet with several names of residents who took out papers. Only one had  been turned in.

People should not wait until the last minute to return nomination papers for either Town Meeting or for those with intentions of running for town-wide office, said Cushman, reminding residents her and all town offices will be closed for the President’s Day Holiday on Monday, Feb. 16.