Here is a complete tutorial from the Secretary of State’s office.
WARD AND TOWN COMMITTEES — 2016
Election and Organization
The basic legal organization of political parties in Massachusetts are the ward and town committees. Each political party may elect a ward or town committee consisting of three to thirty-five members in each ward of a city and in each town for a four year term. Members of ward and town committees serve in the
•represent their party at the local neighborhood level;
•promote the objectives of the party; and
•work for the nomination and election of party candidates.
Number of Members Elected
On or before Monday, August 3, 2015, all ward and town committees are required by law to notify the Secretary of the Commonwealth of the exact number of members they wish to have elected at the presidential primaries in 2016. If notification is not received by August 3, 2015, the number of members to be elected will be the same as 2012.
This notification determines the full number of voting committee members for the ensuing four years, as does the number of members assigned to such a committee in cases where no notification is received. New political parties will be
assigned 10 members, unless their state committee requests otherwise in writing by August 3, 2015.
Traditionally, there are three ways to run for ward or town committee:
•Incumbent members of the current committee often form their own slate. An interested person may request a place on this slate by contacting the chairperson, by email
(westfordrtc[at]gmail.com],whose name is available at the local election office in the city or town hall.
•A candidate may run on another slate.
•A candidate may run as an individual.
Nomination papers will be available on Tuesday, August 4, 2015, in the Elections Division, Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, One Ashburton Place, Room 1705, Boston, Massachusetts 02108 and thereafter at the clerk’s office in
each city and town.
Ward and town committee nomination papers are “group” or “slate” papers. Though one may run as an individual, there is an advantage to running as part of a “group” or “slate.” Massachusetts law requires that groups appear first on the ballot and candidates running as individuals appear last. Three or more candidates on a nomination paper will be treated as a group. A paper with fewer than three names is not considered a group, and those names will appear alphabetically after the groups on the ballot.
When 2 or more groups are to appear on the ballot in any ward or town, ballot order will be decided by the drawing of lots by the Secretary of the Commonwealth. This drawing will take place in the Secretary’s office, most likely in early December. The order of the names on the ballot for the group will be the same as the order of the names as filed on the nomination papers.
Vacancies which occur on the slate through withdrawal or other circumstances may not be filled. Should there be fewer members elected than the number designated, the committee, when elected, may fill the vacancies by vote at its first meeting after the election, or at any later meeting.
Instructions to Candidates
Each candidate for ward or town committee must be a registered voter in that ward or town and enrolled in the party during the 90 days before the filing deadline for nomination papers with the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, or a newly registered voter enrolled in that party. A candidate cannot have been enrolled in another political party during the one year period before the filing deadline. Each candidate’s name must be certified by the registrars of voters or election commission. At least three registrars of voters or election commissioners
must sign the enrollment certificate. Names and addresses of candidates should be typed or printed clearly.
Beside each candidate’s name there is a space for written acceptance, which must be signed by each candidate personally. By law, ward and town committee nomination papers do not contain a statement of public office.
A paper with more candidates’ names than there are positions to be filled will be considered invalid, unless notarized withdrawals are filed by the deadline to reduce to the allowable number. Also, a candidate’s name cannot be printed on the ballot on more than one slate or both on a slate and as an individual. A candidate may allow his or her name to be circulated on more than one slate, and/or as an individual, but must withdraw from all but one ballot position by the final date for withdrawal (Friday, November 20, 2016) or the candidate’s name will be removed and will not appear on the ballot at all.
Nomination papers cannot be altered in any way. Additional markings on the papers may disqualify any signatures contained thereon.
Signatures of Voters
On the reverse side of the nomination papers there are spaces for the signatures of registered voters who wish to nominate the candidates listed on the front of the nomination paper. These must be voters who are enrolled members of the party or who are not enrolled in any party. It is possible for the candidates on the
slate to nominate themselves by signing the back, as voters, in addition to signing the front (in the written acceptance area), as candidates. Five certified signatures are all that are necessary to nominate a full slate, although it is strongly advised to obtain more than five signatures. The certification of signatures must
be signed by at least three registrars of voters or election commissioners.
Filing Nomination Papers
Please refer to the schedule for filing deadlines. Nomination papers must be submitted to the local board of registrars or election commissioners for the certification of names no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 6, 2015. Nomination papers must be picked up from the local election officials and filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth no later than 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 17, 2015.
MASSACHUSETTS ELECTION CALENDAR WARD AND TOWN COMMITTEES
2016 PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY
Calendar of Events
Last day for city and town committees
to notify the Secretary of the
Commonwealth of the number of
members to be elected to each ward and
Monday, August 3, 2015
Nomination papers available at the Office
of the Secretary of the Commonwealth,
Elections Division, and thereafter at city
and town clerk’s offices.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Last day for a candidate running for ward
or town committee to enroll in the party.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
5:00 p.m. last day and hour to submit
nomination papers to local registrars of
voters and election commissioners for
certification of signatures. (Registrars
must sign both sides of the nomination
Friday, November 6, 2015
5:00 p.m. last day and hour for registrars
to complete certification of signatures for
ward, town, and state committee.
Friday, November 13, 2015
5:00 p.m. last day and hour to file papers
with the Office of the Secretary of the
Commonwealth, Elections Division.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
5:00 p.m. last day and hour to file
withdrawals of or objections to
nomination papers with the Office of
the Secretary of the Commonwealth,
Friday, November 20, 2015
Tuesday, March 1, 2016