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Nomination papers due April 4 for May Town Election

Prospective candidates for elected, volunteer positions in town government will be pleased to know they have plenty of time to prepare for a run.

Nomination papers for the May 9 Town Election are due at Town Hall April 4. Papers will be available Monday, Jan. 23, at Town Hall.

Each candidate must collect at least 32 signatures of Harvard residents to make it onto the ballot. Extra signatures are recommended in case of errors.

Town Caucus, which was abandoned during the pandemic, will not return this year, the Select Board agreed at its Tuesday meeting. Only about 16 communities still select their candidates at a caucus, Town Clerk Lynn Kelly told the board. Select Board Chair Rich Maiore mused that it’s been increasingly difficult to achieve a quorum at Town Caucus since the Harvard Charter, passed in 2018, converted elected positions—such as the Planning Board and Board of Health—into appointed ones.

Kelly presented the board with several other election choices. Election Day polling hours were set for 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., although Kelly had initially suggested starting at 10 a.m. But the board decided that voters should be able to vote on their way to work, and Kelly readily agreed, noting that Harvard’s all-volunteer election staff made it feasible.

The board also chose to offer mail-in voting. Although the VOTES Act, signed into law last June, requires mail-in voting for state elections and primaries, and for presidential primaries, it’s optional for town elections. Kelly said residents must request the ballots; they will not be automatically mailed to registered voters.

In another bit of election housekeeping necessitated by new provisions in the VOTES Act, members agreed with Kelly that it “doesn’t make sense” for the board to appoint the police officers to be present at the polling place. Instead, the Select Board delegated that responsibility to Police Chief James Babu for the Town Election.


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