WINCHESTER - The new year may have just begun, but residents should prepare for a busy spring. Thanks to the presidential primary in March, aka Super Tuesday, Winchester voters will make two trips to the ballot box. On Tuesday, March 3 the town will hold the presidential primary election followed by the town-wide election on Tuesday, March 31.
(Note: The state just passed the legislation to allow for early voting for the presidential primary for five days, Feb. 24 through Feb. 28 during the normal business hours.)
Although the town election may seem later than usual, it has nothing to do with the presidential primary. Per the town charter, it’s always held on the last Tuesday in March. Thanks to a 29th day in February this year, the last Tuesday in March just happens to be the last day in March.
However, as Town Clerk MaryEllen Lannon noted, she could combine the two elections into what is called a dual election. She’s done it once before, back when the state had to fill the vacant US Senate seat after the passing of Ted Kennedy.
The difference between that time and this one concerns the amount of names on the ballot. Current US Senator Ed Markey was the only name on the ballot at that time whereas for this upcoming election there will be all the democratic and republican nominees for their respective party, plus names of those running for democratic and republican town committees. Then, of course, you have the second ballot with those running for town government seats.
Lannon called her original attempt at a dual election complex, but added how tough it will be to run two elections so close to one another. Therefore, it seems there’s no easy solution and residents will simply have to find time to make it to their polling location twice in March (or visit the Town Hall for early voting in February for the presidential primary).
With nomination season already underway, residents interested in running for town government can stop by the Town Clerk’s Office in Town Hall to take out nomination papers. Those papers must contain 50 signatures of registered voters before they can be returned to the Town Clerk’s Office for verification.
Some residents have already taken out nomination papers including incumbents George Andersen for Board of Assessors, Brenda Kleschinsky for the Housing Authority, Heather von Mering and Heather Hannon for the Planning Board, and Mariano Goluboff for the Select Board.