Thinking of Running for Elected Office? Now’s the Time to Act

Have you ever considered running for elected office for Belmont? How about being a Town Meeting member?

If you have, the Belmont Town Clerk’s Office advises that time is running short on this opportunity to represent the town or your precinct as the due date to submit nomination papers is fast approaching – Tuesday, Feb. 17 – to see your name on the April 7 Town Election ballot.

Town-wide Offices

There are many Town-wide elected offices that will appear on the Annual Town Election ballot. If you’re interested or want to share your skills in this way, now is the time to step forward. Here is the list of town-wide offices up for nomination, in the order they will appear on the ballot.

  • Moderator elect one person for one year
  • Board of Selectmen elect one member for three years
  • Board of Assessors elect one member for three years
  • Board of Cemetery Commissioners  elect one member for three years
  • Board of Health elect one member for three years
  • Members of the Housing Authority  elect one member for five years
  • Trustees of the Public Library elect two members for three years
  • Members of the School Committee  elect two members for three years AND one member for two years

Representative Town Meeting – Representatives from Each of the Eight Voting Precincts

In addition to the Town-wide offices, 12 representative Town Meeting members are elected for three-year terms from each of our eight voting precincts. This year, there are also some partial term openings for Town Meeting, vacancies created by members moving or resigning:

  • Precinct 1 : elect 12 members for three years
  • Precinct 2 : elect 12 members for three years
  • Precinct 3 : elect 12 members for three years
  • Precinct 4 : elect 12 members for three years
  • Precinct 5 : elect 12 members for three years AND 1 member for one year
  • Precinct 6 : elect 12 members for three years AND 1 member of one year AND 1 member for two years
  • Precinct 7 : elect 12 members for three years AND 4 members for two years
  • Precinct 8 : elect 12 members for three years AND 1 member for one year

Incumbent Town Meeting members who want to run for re-election in 2015 must notify the Town Clerk by 5 p.m., Jan. 27, by submitting the Intention Letter that was mailed in December to those Members whose term expires in 2015.  Missing that deadline means having to collect signatures on nomination papers.

Annual Town Meeting takes place in the spring, and typically lasts for six evenings, (customarily Monday and Wednesday) starting May 4 then reconvening on June 1. Town Meeting makes all of the decisions about the Town’s budgets and local Bylaws. Belmont’s government is a Representative Town Meeting, which means that only Town Meeting members can vote at Town Meeting, unlike the Open Town Meeting form of government.  That’s why it’s very important that all the Town Meeting seats are filled to have full representation of each Belmont neighborhood.

Getting Your Name on the Ballot

Running for election is simple. Stop by the Town Clerk’s office to pick up nomination papers; have your neighbors and friends who are registered voters sign your papers and submit the signed forms to the Town Clerk by the deadline, Feb. 17, at 5 p.m. 

To be nominated for Town-wide office, you must have signatures of at least 50 registered voters of the Town on the nomination papers. The Town Clerk must certify these signatures so we always suggest obtaining about 20 percent more just to be safe.

To be nominated for Town Meeting, the signatures of at least 25 registered voters of your precinct are required on the nomination papers. The Town Clerk must certify these signatures so we always suggest obtaining about 20 percent more just to be safe.  Some current Town Meeting Members will be seeking re-election but all 12 seats are available in each precinct.

Find Out More

The Town Clerk’s web pages contain quite a bit of information to help make a decision to seek office by selecting “Town Clerk,” then select “Campaigning: Running for Elected Office in Belmont or Town Meeting Member Information” or by calling 617-993-2600.

Join Boris: Pet Licenses Now Being Issued by Belmont’s Town Clerk

Photo: Sorry, but cat license number 1 has been taken (by Hammond Road’s Boris, the Amazing Russian Circus Cat (Retired) yes, that’s his official name). But that shouldn’t stop you from getting your pet licensed. In fact, it’s a law.

Don’t let your pets become scofflaws!

Belmont’s Town Clerk’s Office has begun issuing annual dog and cat licenses to their owners.

Now is the time to get Fluffy and Fido their tags as the cost for renewing licenses for neutered or spayed pets will double after March 15.

It is simpler then ever to renew pet license for dogs and cats: it can be done online here or by printing the Pet License Form and mailing or bringing in the form and payment to the Clerk’s office at:

Town Clerk’s Office

Town Hall 

455 Concord Ave.

Belmont. MA 02478

New Pets

If your pet has never been licensed before in Belmont, you must supply a Certificate of Rabies Vaccination and a Spay/Neuter certificate from your pet’s veterinarian as well as the Pet License Form and mail to the Town Clerk’s office with payment or come to the Town Clerk’s office and license your pet in person.

2015 Fees

Jan 1 to March 15: Renewals and new pets

  • Neutered/Spayed: $12 per pet; $9 if owner is 60 years of age or older
  • Unaltered: $37 per pet; $34 if owner is 60 years of age or older
March 16 to Dec. 31: Renewals
(New pets use above pricing regardless of date)
  • Neutered/Spayed: $24 per pet; $18 if owner is 60 years of age or older
  • Unaltered: $49 per pet; $43 if owner is 60 years of age or older

Failure to license pets will result in a $50 non-criminal violation. Failure to vaccinate pets will result in a $100 non-criminal violation per Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 140.

Recount Comes Up a Vote Short for Veteran Town Meeting Member

At the start of the day, Marty Cohen was only four votes away from keeping his seat on Belmont’s town meeting after serving on the town’s legislative body for 39 consecutive years.

And over two hours in the spacious Town Hall auditorium, as a small army of volunteer town election officials viewed each ballot cast in Precinct 3 on April 1 at the annual Town Election, Cohen sat quietly hoping that the day’s recount would see him overcome fellow Precinct 3 representative David Chase’s three-vote margin of victory, 323 to 320, for the 12th and final precinct seat.

“I wouldn’t have asked for one if not for the discrepancy in the count,” said Cohen, referring to the difference between the ballots placed into the optical-scanning voting machine and the number from election officials checking off names in the precinct book of registered voters.

It was a small number – less than five ballots – but enough that Town Clerk Ellen Cushman said she would support Cohen’s request for a second look at the votes cast.

The recount, the first in about a dozen years, was run by the four-member Board of Registrars of Voters under rules specified under state law. Cushman, who along with assistant Town Clerk Meg Piccione and staff member Nancy Casale, assisted the 14 volunteers on how to read each ballot, which to deem “blank” (fore instance, a voter selecting more than the 12 votes they are limited to) and those that would require a vote of the Board to decide.

What the readers would be seeking “is the intent of the voters,” Cushman told the voters.

The box holding the paper ballots was opened, the votes placed into piles of 50 and brought to tables where a pair of volunteers recorded each valid vote cast in the third.

“Let the games begin,” said Cushman as red pencils and rulers began counting and recording as observers hovered close by to  view the recount.

When the recount finished and the numbers tabulated, the new vote count came out in favor of Cohen … but by not enough. The second look total gave Chase 324 votes to Cohen’s 323, a margin of a single vote deciding the last representative from Precinct 3.

“The voters have spoken,” said Cohen who went over to Chase to chat a while on if he should run next year.

“I feel so bad for Marty. It doesn’t feel like a victory,” said Chase, who has been on Town Meeting for approximately 15 years.

As for the recount process, Cushman had no complaints.

“Everything worked out well. I want to thank my staff and the volunteers for the work they did,” she said.

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