Monday is Westminster's annual town caucus: how it works and what to know

Westminster residents seeking to run for office have their first chance to get their name on the annual town election ballot at the Citizen Caucus.

This year, residents will vote to fill nine open town board and commission seats. The following seats are open for election along with confirmed incumbents running again.

  • Select Board: one three-year term position.

  • Board of Health: one three-year term position and incumbent Michael G. Popi is running again.

  • Board of Assessors: one three-year term position

  • Library Trustees: two positions for three-year terms and one position for one year term. Incumbent Tiffany G. Davis is running again for a three-year term. One-year appointees, Neepa C. Shah and Michelle L. Miller are officially running for their appointed positions.

  • Planning Board: A three-year term position and a one-year term position

  • Housing Authority: A five-year term position and incumbent Zachary U. Banks plans to re-run.

  • Cemetery Commission: A three-year term position and one year appointee, Brian R. Vincen plans to official run for the position.

The annual Citizen Caucus is Monday, Feb. 26, in the Senior Center at 7 p.m. Residents can nominate candidates for the Tuesday, April 30, annual town election at the caucus.

Westminster residents will vote on the Community Preservation Act during the town election on April 26.
Westminster residents will vote on the Community Preservation Act during the town election on April 26.

How the caucus works

Ellen Sheehan, the town clerk, said the caucus has been a group of citizens gathering yearly to determine if the election will have enough candidates to fill all open town seats.

The caucus moderator is Dana Altobelli, who is also an officer on the town's Caucus Committee

Before the caucus moderator announces the open seats on the ballot along with the incumbent candidates, the caucus has to vote in a caucus clerk. Sheehan said anyone can be voted in as the caucus clerk, although people have consistently voted for her to be the caucus clerk.

Then, the moderator announces all open town seats on the ballot. Sheehan said after announcing the open town seats and the incumbent candidates, the moderator opens the floor for candidate nominations.

Potential candidates do not have to attend the caucus to be nominated Sheehan said candidates who do not win the caucus vote must file the nomination papers. Any nominated candidate who wins the caucus vote does not have to file nomination papers; they are automatically put on the April election ballot.

Sheehan said she is still awaiting confirmation from incumbents who will run for office again. She said the caucus moderator will officially announce all incumbents running for office along with what seats are open at the annual caucus on Monday night.

There is no mail-in voting for the caucus; all residents wanting to vote or nominate a candidate must be in person. She said at least 25 registered Westminster voters must attend the annual caucus for it to occur.

The last day to register to vote in the town election is Friday, April 19, at 5 p.m. The deadline to submit absentee ballot applications is Monday, April 29, at noon. On voting day, April 30, the polls will open between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Want to run but can't make it to the caucus?

Sheehan said if anyone wants to run for town office but can't make it to the caucus, they have until Tuesday, March 12, at 5 p.m. to pick up the nomination papers from the town clerk's office. She said at least 39 credited signatures of registered Westminster voters are required as well.

That same day is the last day to submit nomination papers to the Board of Registrars for certification. The last day to file nomination papers to the clerk's offices is Tuesday, March 26, at 5 p.m.

This article originally appeared on Gardner News: Westminster annual citizen caucus is Monday, Feb. 26