Town Clerk’s Quick Tips For Belmont’s Election Day, Tuesday, April 6

Photo:

Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman has written a list of “quick tips” for residents preparing to vote in the annual Town Election this Tuesday, April 6.

  • Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The polls are expected to be quite busy with in-person voters.
  • Wear your mask/face covering, maintain at least six feet of distance and be patient as you wait your turn to vote.
  • Election workers will be managing the lines to ensure adequate spacing of voters and workers within the polling place. Please dress appropriate for the weather; you may be asked to wait outside until it’s your turn.
  • Please note that some of the flow within the polling places has been changed to create one way traffic patterns. Follow signs and directions of election workers and Police officers and abide by the safety protocols.
  • Please be aware that April 6 is the second day for students of the Belmont elementary schools to return to school in person. Children will be excited to see their friends and arrival/departure patterns will still be new to them. Voters of Precincts 4, 7 and 8  at the Butler, Burbank and Winn Brook  are asked to consider avoiding the drop off and pick up times, 8:20 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 2:20 p.m. to 3 p.m.  allowing the students and their guardians space and time to perform the drop off or pick up. Please pay attention to the voter parking signs placed at each polling place and use them.

If you have any questions about your voting status, please feel  free to visit the State’s election resources page under the Voter Resources tab or contact the Belmont Town Clerk’s office at 617-993-2603  or voting@belmont-ma.gov

Nomination Papers For Town Election, Town Meeting Now Available

Photo: Nomination papers are ready to be picked up at Town Hall

Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman announces Wednesday, Dec. 9 that nomination papers for town offices are available for those who are interested in running for office in Belmont.

All candidates must be registered voters of Belmont.

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

Stop by the Town Clerk’s office to pick up nomination papers; have your neighbors and friends, who are voters, sign your nomination papers and submit the signed forms to the Town Clerk by the deadline, Feb. 16, 2021, at 5 p.m.

The Town Hall is still closed to the public so we’ve set aside specific times for candidates to pick up and return nomination papers, no appointment necessary:

  • Monday 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Friday at 9 a.m.

Upon arrival at Town Hall, a quick call to 617-993-2603 will bring a staff member out to start the process.

Here’s the list of offices that will be filled by the April 6, annual Town Election as of Dec. 9:

  • Moderator, Vote for One, 1 year
  • Board of Selectmen, Vote for One, 3 years
  • Board of Assessors, Vote for One, 3 years
  • Board of Cemetery Commissioners, Vote for One, 3 years
  • Board of Health, Vote for One, 3 years
  • Members of the Housing Authority, Vote for One, 5 years
  • Members of the Housing Authority, Vote for One, 4 years (to fill a vacancy)
  • Trustees of the Public Library, Vote for Two, 3 years
  • Members of the School Committee, Vote for Two, 3 years

Town Meeting Members for Each of the Eight Precincts, Vote for 12, 3 years.

Partial-Term Town Meeting  Members to Fill Vacancies

  • For Precinct 1, Vote for One, 1 year
  • For Precinct 2, Vote for One, 1 year
  • For Precinct 2, Vote for One, 2 years
  • For Precinct 4, Vote for One, 2 years
  • For Precinct 8, Vote for One, 2 years

The 12 Town Meeting Members from each of the eight voting precincts are elected each year to three-year terms, a limited number of additional partial-term seats are available as well.

The Town Clerk’s web pages contain quite a bit of information to help make a decision to seek office at www.belmont-ma.gov select Town Clerk, then select Running for Elected Office and Campaigning or feel free to call us at 617-993-2603, or email at townclerk@belmont-ma.gov

Running for election is simple

To be nominated for Town-wide office

Signatures of at least 50 registered voters of Belmont 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.

To be nominated for Town Meeting

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 asking the voters for re-election but all twelve seats are available in each precinct, plus any partial term seats.

Running for re-election to Town Meeting:

Current Town Meeting Members whose term of office expires in 2021 have already been mailed a letter asking if the person will seek re-election. The deadline for returning the signed response letter to the Town Clerk is Jan. 26 at 4 p.m.

Impact of COVID-19: During 2020, Belmont’s Town Meetings and meetings of boards, commissions, and committees have been held via remote access using video conferencing technology. In the case of the Town Meeting, we also deploy our secure electronic voting system. All signatures on nomination papers for local elections must be original, no electronic signatures are permitted. Candidates will need to consider different ways to obtain the necessary signatures; the Town Clerk’s website offers some suggestions.

Annual Town Meeting takes place in the spring and typically lasts for six evenings, (customarily Monday and Wednesday) in early May and early June for another two to four evenings. 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 debate and vote at Town Meeting, unlike the Open Town Meeting form of government. Video of past Town Meetings is available for viewing on www.Belmontmedia.org .

Questions can be directed to townclerk@belmont-ma.gov or 617-993-2603

Letter To The Editor: Belmont’s Poll Workers and Election Staff are Amazing

Photo: Election workers

Dear Neighbors and Voters of Belmont:

While many Americans are focused on the results of the Nov. 3  Presidential Election, I  call special attention to our fellow Belmont neighbors who served as election workers to guarantee the rightful exercise of our treasured right to vote, even in the midst of a global pandemic.  They did a fabulous job and need to be recognized for their work:

The Official Election Results for Belmont have not yet been finalized, but the official results will be certified by Nov. 18.  

Exactly 81.99 percent of Belmont’s voters cast ballots in the Nov. 3 election. That’s 15,038  people – of whom more than 12,100 voted during the fourteen days of the In-Person Early Voting period or Voted by Mail. The conclusion: a vigorously active electorate and even more amazing election workers and staff. We enjoyed expert assistance from many town departments, but most particularly the Police, Public Works, Fire, Library, Council on Aging, School Department, Facilities, Treasurer, Information Technology, Community Development, Select Board’s office, Health Department, Emergency Management and others. Lastly, the members of the press/media covering Belmont, each of our media outlets, got the word out to our residents to let them know the details of voting which really made a difference.

More than 200 election workers were trained and ready to go; 116 actually wound up working during the Early Voting Period or on Election Day itself along with the fantastic, hard-working staff of the Town Clerk’s office :

  • Rising before the sun to arrive at the polls by 6 a.m. and be open to voters by 7 a.m.:
  • Happily greeting every voter;
  • Checking in and out thousands of voters and processing absentee and early voting ballots, some routine, some needing extra help;
  • Researching voter information so voters who needed to go to a different precinct or community to vote could do so;
  • Helping voters who needed a little physical help or extra time;
  • Expertly responding to hundreds of phone calls from precinct election workers and voters from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Election Day and many days before and after;
  • Opening and tabulating more than 10,000 Early Voting ballots, while ensuring a secret ballot for all voters;
  • Posting signs, now-famous blue arrows to direct voters along with COVID-19 reminders;
  • Giving up hours at home with family in the evenings and even holiday weekends;
  • Scheduling the workers like an air traffic controller;
  • Processing and mailing more than 2,000 Absentee Ballots, including hundreds to Members of the Military and Overseas Citizens;
  • Registering 1,973 new voters since Jan. 1, 2020 and deleting many more so they could vote in their new communities;
  • Keeping everyone’s spirits buoyed, even when face-to-face with an angry voter when we made a mistake;
  • Closing out the polls, accounting for every ballots and all the legal requirements so we could post Belmont’s results to the website;
  • Most importantly, enjoying one another’s company and looking forward to working the next Belmont election.

We are extremely proud of the work these folks accomplished to make Belmont’s election a huge success with accurate results and we thank them sincerely for their efforts, their attitude and their willingness to participate so wonderfully in this open election process. 

When you see them around town, we encourage you to thank them in person.

With thanks and in awe of:

AlanaAubin
AnnahAbrams
BruceAlger
KatherineAnderson
AngelaCarini
ClausBecker
JessieBennett
IrinaBerlin
WoodyBishop
IreneBocella
SarahBoyle
LianeBrecknock
CarolBurt
CatherineByrne
LauraCaputo
LaurieCarlson
HeatherCharron
AlysonConover
ElaineCrisafi
LiamCushman
AngusDavison
MargaretDecker
AmyDeDeo
HildyDvorak
BrendaDzierzeski
NaomiEllenburg-Dukas
AnyaEpstein
ReneeEurdolian
EileenFarrell
ErnieFay
DebbyFenn
JaredFernandez
LynnFindlay
AngeloFirenze
JennaFlanagan
HarrisFoulkes
VirginiaGrant
SuzanneGreenberg
IlanaGut
ViktoriaHaase
BrianHanley
KaleighHannigan
JaneHaverty
KellyHiggins
StephenHodgdon
PriscillaHughes
BrianIler
MelissaIrion
AudreyJerome
BarbaraJohnson
GaryKelly
MauraKelly
JaniceKnight
JuliaKostro
AndrewKramer
PamLarson
ChuckLaverty
DavidLind
LarryLink
WarrenLogan
RosemaryLoRusso
GeoffreyLubein
PaulaLyons
KatharineMacIsaac
ZendaMancini
KristenMasoud
BethMaury
CamilleMayeux
GretchenMcClain
MarshallMcCloskey
KareyMcKenna
GlenMohr
RobinMoore
PaulinaMuratore
HollyMuson
KentNewton
LauraNoerdlinger
RachelNovember
DavidNuscher
LaurelObermueller
ChristineO’Neill
DianeOrfanos
CharisPalandjian
ChristopherPiccione
AndreaPrestwich
KathyQuirk
SarahRichards
AnnRittenburg
JudyRizzo
IlyseRobbins-Mohr
PhilRossoni
KathleenRushe
BrianSaper
DennisSimenson
BarbaraSkelly
CarolineSokol
SharonSprague
ClareStanley
HeidiSteinert
HollyStratford
ScottStratford
MatthewSullivan
JoyceThe Voice
SusanTitus
JohnUmina
Paulavan Horn
AnnVerrilli
MarkWagner
JenWaldron
MarjorieWayne
MichaelWissner
IanWright
JoeZarro
RoseannZelny
VictorZelny
EricaZidel

Town Clerk’s Staff Members

DanCane
NancyCasale
MegPiccione

Ellen O’Brien Cushman, Town Clerk and Fellow Members of the Board of Registrars of Voters: Robert McGaw, Paul Minor and Stephen Shestakofsky

Special Town Meeting Set For Sept. 21 Using Zoom, TurningPoint Voting

Photo:

Belmont Town Meeting Members are being asked to SAVE THE DATES for a Special Town Meeting taking place on Monday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. Additional sessions will be held on Sept.  23 and 30.

The meeting will again be held by remote-access using Zoom and TurningPoint just as we did for the annual Town Meeting on June 16.

Over the next few weeks, the Town Clerk’s Office will be sending instructions to make sure everyone is up to speed to use both technologies and we’ll be scheduling just three training classes for new Town Meeting Members.  

“It’s vitally important that we have a current email address for every Town Meeting Member so that everyone will be included in the TurningPoint list of voting Town Meeting Members,” said Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman.

If you have changed your email address from the one where you are receiving this email, please inform us at townclerk@belmont-ma.gov and designate the email address as public or confidential. Remember that every Town Meeting Member must have at least one public contact, either phone or email.

Early Voting Has Begun In Belmont; Final Day Friday, Nov. 2 [VIDEO]

Photo: Early voting has begun.

Thanks to the 2016 changes to the Massachusetts General Laws, any registered voter of Massachusetts may choose to cast a ballot for the State Election (candidates and four questions) before Election Day on Nov. 6. The law permits registered voters to cast ballots during the designated period of Early Voting, for 2018  between Oct. 22 and Friday, Nov. 2.  

“We are excited to offer this opportunity to all registered voters of Belmont, an expanded, accessible schedule of hours at one central location, Belmont Town Hall, for this “no excuse” vote-ahead option,” said Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman.

Early voting is available to every registered voter. Unlike absentee voting that is available in every election for only those voters who will be absent from Belmont, or have a physical disability preventing the voter from going to the polls or with a religious belief preventing the voter from going to the polls on Election Day.

No advance application is necessary to Vote Early in person; you can decide the date and time to cast your ballot at Town Hall during designated Early Voting hours. Once the voter has cast an Early Voting Ballot, that voter may not vote at the polls on Election Day or receive an Absentee Ballot. 

Only Belmont residents who are registered to vote by the Oct. 17 deadline are eligible to vote in this year’s State Election.  To register to vote, find out whether and where you are already registered, where to vote, visit the Secretary of State’s website.

To find out more about Absentee and Early Voting, visit the Belmont Town Clerk’s pages on the Town website.

Early Voting for Belmont Voters will be available ONLY at Town Hall, 455 Concord Ave., during the following schedule of dates and hours, no advance notice is required: 

  • Monday, Oct. 22; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 23; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 24;  8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 25;  8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Friday, Oct. 26; 8 a.m. to Noon
  • Saturday, Oct. 27; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 28; No Early Voting Hours
  • Monday, Oct. 29; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 30;  8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 31; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, Nov. 1; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Friday, Nov. 2; 8 a.m. to Noon

“Pick the most convenient date and time for you and give Early Voting a try.  It’s always advisable to have your ID with you when you go to vote either on Election Day or for Early Voting,” said Cushman.

Written, signed Absentee Applications and Early Voting Applications that request us to mail you a ballot are also available, online at the Town Clerk’s webpage or at the Town Clerk’s office at Town Hall.  If you have questions or need additional information, email the Town Clerk’s office at townclerk@belmont-ma.gov or phone 617-993-2600   

Belmont Voters Come Out All Day To Cast Ballots In State Primary

Photo: They voted Tuesday.

A small stream can eventually over time create a deep valley.

On Tuesday, it was a steady stream throughout the day entering Belmont’s eight polling sites that produced an impressive figure of residents to take the time to vote on a hot, humid election day.

Approximately 5,000 voters or just under 30 percent of eligible voters took out a ballot for the state primary election held on Tuesday, Sept. 4. In precincts 1 and 6, a third of voters came out to cast ballots. Even the lowest level of participation at Precinct 4 was at 25 percent.

It was a number that impressed Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman as the election came a day after the Labor Day holiday and without a high profile race – such as the upset by Ayanna Pressley over incumbent Michael Capuano in the nearby Seventh Congressional District Democratic primary – to bring out the voters.

“It was a trickle, no one needed to wait to vote at any time but if that happens all day, it comes out to 30 percent,” said Cushman who released the unofficial results just after 9 p.m.

In races involving Belmontians, it was nip and tuck for most of the night but incumbent Marian Ryan of Belmont pulled ahead of challenger Donna Patalano by more than 11,000 votes, 81,098 to 70,061, to secure the Democratic nomination for Middlesex County District Attorney. In her hometown, Ryan swamped Patalano, 2,338 to 1,359.

In the District 3 Governor’s Council primary, long-time incumbent Marilyn Devaney beat back the challenge of Nick Carter, 49,528 to 39,122, while in Belmont, the newcomer took the “Town of Homes” 1,763 to 1,660.

In the race to “beat the blanks,” – both were unchallenged – State Sen. Will Brownsberger took home 3,508 (only 516 blank ballots) votes while Dave Rogers, Belmont’s state representative, received 3,207 vs. 817 blanks.

To see the complete results, head over to the Town Clerk’s website. 

Belmont Holding Training Sessions On High School Ballot Question, Open Meeting Update

Photo: Questions on the ballot this November.

It will be the largest “ask” of voters in Belmont’s history when a debt exclusion question authorizing approximately $220 million to build a new Belmont High and Upper Middle schools will likely be presented on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Because of its historic nature of the question, between now and November, members of Belmont’s boards, committees, and commissions will likely be questions on basic information, data, opinions, and “fact sheets” related to the project from voters, ballot campaign question committees, the media, or just interested residents.

According to Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman, answers related to the ballot question are governed by several Massachusetts General Laws.

To aid volunteers and employees in making choices related to this ballot question, Cushman has arranged a pair of training sessions by the State Office of Campaign & Political Finance (OCPF) personnel on Tuesday, July 17 at Chenery Middle School auditorium.

The session for boards, committees and commissions members will be held at 7 p.m. in the early evening, while town employees will attend a session at 3 p.m.

At the same training session, Belmont Town Counsel George Hall of the firm Anderson & Kreiger, will hold a question and answer session on his recent advisory to Belmont on the Open Meeting Law determination and Supreme Judicial Court decision. 

“It’s about getting everyone on the same page of the law,” said Cushman. 

Cushman anticipates the OCPF training to last approximately one hour, the Open Meeting Law portion to last about 45 minutes.

“Even if you don’t believe that you will be asked to comment or provide any information on this ballot question, I ask you to consider attending this scheduled one-hour training, for your knowledge and protection. You need to know the laws that apply to you as a member of our boards, committees, and commissions,” said Cushman

Between now and the training session, you may want to take a quick view of some brief educational videos provided by OCPF, each one about five minutes, to get you started thinking about the topic:

  • Click here for the ballot question committee tutorial.
  • Click here for the tutorial on equal access.
  • Click here for the tutorial on the use of public resources for political purposes.

If you have a specific question or clarification related to his advisory opinion, please email it to me in by Friday, July 12.  

“I’ll gather all of the submissions ahead of the session and forward them to George to help focus the presentation. Of course, questions from the floor will be welcomed as well,” said Cushman. 

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

Photo:

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 townclerk@belmont-ma.gov 

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. 

IMG_0839 IMG_0844

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.