Although the calendar remains ever-fluid these coronavirus days, a new date of Tuesday, May 19, has been set for the local town and special state elections.
In addition, Town Clerk Taylor D. White is urging everyone to participate in early voting by mail.
“Voting by mail is not required, but it is strongly encouraged to promote health and safety,” Mr. White said. “We anticipate that many will do this and hopefully the majority will be done through early voting.”
Registered voters can start right now. Electronic early vote applications for the state and local elections are available on the town clerk’s page, which can be accessed through the town website at sandwichmass.org.
The forms must be filled out, printed, scanned and emailed, or printed and sent through the mail, Mr. White said. This can be done anytime between now and Tuesday, May 12—at the latest—to allow time for processing.
Previously, early voting was done in person, typically the week before a scheduled election, while absentee voting was done by mail and required voters to provide a justification for failing to vote in person. Now, all those who wish to vote by mail can do so, Massachusetts Governor Charles D. Baker Jr. announced late last month.
For those who have filled out and returned their applications, ballots will be mailed to the voter’s address. Those hard-copy ballots must then be filled out and returned by mail or dropped off at the town clerk’s office at the town hall annex, 145 Main Street.
“The ballot must be received—not just postmarked—by close of election day [May 19],” Mr. White said.
For those not yet registered, that too can be done online. Go to the secretary of state’s website, sec.state.ma.us.
In the Sandwich town election there is only one contested race—three candidates are running for two open planning board seats.
Newcomer John Casali, of Latimer Lane, pulled papers just days before the application window closed. The two other candidates for two three-year planning board seats are incumbent Robert E. King and newcomer Mark Callahan.
The other openings for town office all have only one candidate per slot, Mr. White said last month. Those offices cover a wide range, from the board of assessors to the Weston Memorial Fund.
Also on May 19, Bourne, Falmouth and Sandwich are all scheduled to hold special elections to fill the state Senate seat in the Plymouth and Barnstable District left vacant by Viriato (Vinny) deMacedo.
In that election Susan L. Moran of Falmouth is running against James (Jay) McMahon of Bourne.
Mr. deMacedo stepped down to take a position at Bridgewater State University in October.
Mr. White said the town will save about $15,000 in staff costs by holding the local election on the same day as the special state election.