Here’s Your Chance: Precincts Have Open Town Meeting Seats To Be Filled

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Unless a crowd of masked residents waving nomination papers show up outside Town Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 16, it’s likely only two of Belmont’s eight precincts will have competitive races to fill Town Meeting seats up for grabs at the Town Election on April 6.

A draft ballot produced by Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman’s office on Thursday, Feb. 12 – four days before the nomination deadline on Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. – indicated that residents in Precinct 3 and Precinct 6 will have competitive races for Town Meeting. Three precincts (2, 5 and 8) have the required 12 candidates running.

  • Precinct 1: 11 of 12 including one one-year term still wanting a candidate.
  • Precinct 2: 12 of 12 including one candidate for a two-year seat and no one for the single-year term.
  • Precinct 3: 13 for 12
  • Precinct 4: 10 for 12 including no takers for a two-year term
  • Precinct 5: 12 for 12
  • Precinct 6: 14 for 12
  • Precinct 7: 9 for 12 and no one seeking the one-year term.
  • Precinct 8: 12 for 12 with a candidate for the lone two-year seat.

In four of the precincts, partial term seats – for either one or two years to fill the terms of Town Meeting Members who relinquished their posts – have not attracted a candidate.

If you have taken nomination papers out but have not yet turned them in, there’s still time. The deadline to turn in nomination papers is Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. DO NOT put them into the Town Clerk’s drop box; make sure you call the Clerk’s Office at 617-993-2603 when you arrive at Town Hall. We prefer papers turned in at 9 p.m. and 3 p.m. but on Tuesday, we will take them anytime.

Nomination Papers Are Now Available For Town-Wide, Town Meeting

Photo: Town Clerk’s Office.

Nomination papers for the election of Town Meeting Members and Town-wide offices taking place at Belmont’s annual Town Election (Tuesday, April 5, 2016) are now available at the Town Clerk’s Office, located on the first floor of Town Hall.

The papers are due back to the Clerk for certification by Feb. 16, 2016 at 5 p.m.

Fifty certified signatures of registered Belmont voters are required for Town-wide office, 25 certified signatures of Belmont registered voters dwelling in the appropriate precinct are required for Town Meeting. It is always wise to obtain and provide at least 20 percent more signatures than the requirement to meet the certification minimums.

Getting Your Name on the Ballot

Running for election is simple. Have your neighbors and friends who are registered voters sign your papers and submit the signed forms to the Town Clerk by the deadline.

Town-wide Offices

To be considered a candidate for Town-Wide Office, you must be at least 18 years old and a registered voter of the Town of Belmont.

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, you may file Nomination Papers until Feb. 16, 2016. 

The following is a list of elected Town-wide offices that will appear on the April 5 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

elect one member of three years

Trustees of the Public Library

elect two members for three years

Members of the School Committee

elect two members for three years

Town Clerk

elect one person for three years

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

The elected term of a Town Meeting Member is three (3) years, though should a resignation occur, there may be openings for one (1), or two (2) year periods.

In addition to the Twelve Representative Town Meeting Members that are elected for three-year terms from each of our eight voting precincts, there are also several partial terms available.

  • Precinct 3 – elect one person for one year
  • Precinct 5 – elect one person for one year
  • Precinct 7 – elect three people for one year

Incumbent Town Meeting Members

Incumbent Town Meeting Members who intend to run for re-election must notify the Town Clerk by signing and returning the Intention Letter that is mailed to them by Jan. 26, 2016. Missing the return deadline means having to collect signatures on nomination papers.

New Candidates for Town Meeting Member

To be considered a new candidate for Town Meeting Member, you must be at least 18 years old and a registered voter of the Town of Belmont. If you are currently serving as a Town Meeting Member, who was elected at a caucus, not by Town ballot, you will need to submit nomination papers as a new candidate.

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% more just to be safe.

Withdrawing Your Name From the Ballot

If you have taken out nomination papers and the signatures have been certified, but you change your mind, you may remove your name from the ballot by notifying the Town Clerk in writing by the deadline.

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.