Early voting by mail an option in Town Election

Apr 1, 2021 by

Published April 1, 2021

By MAUREEN DOHERTY

NORTH READING — The voter registration deadline for town residents who want to vote in the annual Town Election is Wednesday, April 14 – 20 days prior to the election on Tuesday, May 4.

In early March, Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law a bill that extends through June 30, 2021 the option for voters to vote by mail in their municipal elections held by that date. The bill was originally approved last summer to enable those voters taking precautions due to COVID-19 who did not want to enter a polling place during the fall 2020 election season, but it was due to expire March 31, 2021.

“The town will certainly be following the state extension for Early Voting By Mail as that is certainly less restrictive than Absentee voting by allowing any voter with the opportunity to request a ballot by mail,” Town Clerk Barbara Stats told the Transcript.

Voters can obtain a vote by mail application for the May 4 election by visiting the Town Clerk’s home page at: northreadingma.gov/town-clerk.

A written request, be it a personal letter or the application form, with a signature, is required but the form makes the application process easier.

2021 Vote by Mail application

The Vote by Mail application is standardized by the Secretary of State’s office. It requests the following information from the voter: name; address of voter registration; date of birth and signature. The voter’s telephone number and email address are optional but helpful in case Town Clerk staff have any questions. Also requested is the address where the ballot is to be mailed.

If a voter required assistance to complete this application due to physical disability, the form requires the name, address and signature (under penalty of perjury) of the person offering such assistance, plus the date the assistance was rendered.

Submitting the application

There are multiple ways voters can submit their Vote by Mail application to the Town Clerk.

• Mail the completed application to: Town Clerk’s Office – Town Hall – 235 North Street, North Reading, MA 01864

• Applications may also be deposited in the red, white and blue Ballot Drop Box at the front of the Town Hall.

• Applications may be submitted electronically by fax to: 978-664-4196

• Applications may be emailed to: Ballots@northreadingma.gov.

• Voter’s signature must be visible on the application when transmitted.

• Applications must be received in the Town Clerk’s Office by Wednesday, April 28. Please allow ample mailing time for this application and for the ballot.

• The Town Clerk’s office will mail the ballots as soon as they become available. Today (April 1) is the last day certified candidates may withdraw their name from the ballot.

• Ballots must be received in the Town Clerk’s Office by the close of the polls on Election Day (typically 8 p.m.).

Candidates in Town Election

There are no contested races in this year’s Town Election and all but one of them are candidates for re-election. CPC candidate Jeremiah Johnston was appointed on March 1 to fill the unexpired term of Bill Bellavance through election day. Johnston is running for the full three-year term on that board.

The following seats are up for election:

• Two seats for three-year terms on the Select Board: Kate Manupelli and Stephen O’Leary;

• Two seats for three-year terms on the School Committee: Dyana Boutwell and Rich McGowan;

• Two seats for three-year terms on the Community Planning Commission: Ryan Carroll and Jeremiah Johnston.

• One seat for a one-year term for Town Moderator: John Murphy;

• One seat for a five-year term on the Housing Authority (no vacancy; this seat is open for appointment).

For additional information on the annual town election, go to: northreadingma.gov/town-clerk/pages/2021-town-election-candidates.

For additional questions about the Town Election or how to register to vote, contact the Town Clerk’s office at 978-357-5218.

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