Thanks to the Covid - 19 pandemic, the annual town elections were moved from May 12 to June 16.
According to Town Clerk Lisa Pedroli, There hasn’t been any negative feedback from the public regarding these changes
“I have not heard any concerns about moving the election,” she said, noting that the Selectmen also spoke about it last week at their meeting.
It was decided that any incumbent official whose term would have expired on May 12, would remain in their position until the election.
New deadlines involved with the change of election date include:
• New voter registration, Friday, June 5 at 8 PM (Residents can register online at www.registertovotema.com, as long as you have a signature on file with the Registry of Motor Vehicles, which could be a MA driver’s license or a State ID card.)
• Applications for Absentee voting ballots, Sunday, June 15 at noon
• Applications for early voting ballots, Sunday, June 15 at noon
According to the town’s website, The law states that there must be two alternatives to voting in person on Election Day. If a resident does not want to vote in person due to COVID-19 concern, or they have a physical disability or religious belief that prevents them from voting in person, they can apply for an absentee ballot. It needs to be returned to the town clerks office by 6 PM on Monday, June 16.
The other alternative method is early voting by mail. Any resident can get an early voting ballot and they must be returned to the town clerks office by 6 PM on Monday, June 16, similar to the absentee ballot. It’s important to note that there will be no physical early voting locations; early voting is only being done for this election via mail.
Pedroli said she does not expect any changes to how absentee in early voting ballots are tallied.
“I am still counting all the absentee and early voting ballots the same way, they will be put through the tabulator during the day of the election,” she said.
Any financial gains that will be seen from changing the election date will come with the number of election workers and The fewer hours to vote.
“I will be having less election workers working that day and the hours will be shortened to 1-6pm, so there might be a little cost savings at this election,” she said.
Absentee and early voting ballots are counted the day of the election and included in the final vote tally.
“There are some empty seats, so the hand counting of the write-ins might take some time at the end of the night,” Pedroli said, but they will be included
If anyone has trouble downloading the application, a handwritten or typed note with your signed name on it may be mailed to the town clerk. The address is: PO Box 7, Hopedale MA 01747 to the attention of Lisa M. Pedroli, or scanned and emailed to [email protected]. A photo of the request taken with your phone and emailed is also acceptable. A phone call or voicemail is not an allowed method for requesting an absentee or an early voting ballot.
Petroni said her advice for this election?
“I encourage voters to absentee or early vote if possible. Forms are available on the front page of the website,” she said.