Lexington’s Annual Town Election will take place on Monday (you read that right—Monday, not Tuesday) March 6, 2023, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Here’s your quick guide to voting and running for local office.
WHY VOTE IN SUCH A SMALL ELECTION? BECAUSE…
The Annual Town Election is when voters get to choose who will make decisions about:
- The size of the Town budget and how our tax dollars will be spent. The fiscal year 2023 (July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023) budget is approximately $325 million.
- Policies on zoning and land use that affect our own and our neighbors’ properties.
- Educational policies and goals that shape our children’s intellectual and social growth.
- The health and safety of those who live in affordable housing.
- The rules that govern everything from the use of the Battle Green to municipal parking to trash collection to environmental sustainability to yard sales — and so much more.
In years like 2023, when nothing else is on the ballot — no controversial ballot questions, no presidential or state primaries — turnout for Lexington’s Annual Town Election is notoriously low. In March of 2021, 12% of voters cast ballots. In March 2019, 17% voted. In March 2017, even though there were contested seats for School Committee and many Town Meeting precincts, just 23% voted. Yet the Annual Town Election is where our vote has the greatest impact on the things that touch us most directly, whether it’s Cary Library, or public safety, accessible sidewalks and streets, public health oversight of local restaurants, maintenance of recreation fields and conservation lands, and more.
OKAY, I’M IN! SO, HOW DO I VOTE?
- First, you have to be registered. In Massachusetts, you can register to vote if you are a U.S. citizen, you are not currently incarcerated by reason of a felony conviction, and you are 18 years old. You can pre-register if you are 16 or 17 years old and then vote when you are 18.
- You can check your voter registration, register to vote, and update your address, name, or party affiliation online.
- You can look up your polling place.
- If you want to vote by mail, you must apply for a vote-by-mail ballot by 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 27, 2023. Your ballot will be mailed to you. Learn more and get your application form.
HOW DO I RUN FOR LOCAL OFFICE?
- Elected offices in Lexington are: Select Board, School Committee, Planning Board, Lexington Housing Authority, Town Meeting Moderator, and Town Meeting Member.
- To run for any of those seats, you must be a registered voter. The process for getting on the ballot begins with pulling nomination papers. That means you must go to the Town Clerk’s office at 1625 Massachusetts Ave. and request nomination papers for the office you wish to run for. Then, you must collect the required number of signatures from Lexington voters and return your nomination papers to the Town Clerk by the deadline. The Town Clerk then certifies the signatures.
- Town Meeting incumbents must inform the Town Clerk of their intention to run for re-election by 5 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023.
- New Town Meeting candidates must pull their nomination papers by 5 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023. They must collect signatures from at least 10 voters in their precinct and then return their completed paperwork to the Town Clerk by 5 p.m., Friday, Jan. 13, 2023. Pro tip: get at least 15 signatures, just in case.
- Candidates for Town-wide offices must pull their nomination papers by 5 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023. They must collect signatures from at least 50 Lexington voters and file their completed paperwork with the Town Clerk by 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13, 2023. Pro tip: get at least 65 signatures, just in case.
I’D LIKE TO HELP. HOW DO I BECOME AN ELECTION WORKER?
- Working at the polls as an election worker is an important and rewarding way facilitate democracy in action. The Town Clerk’s office makes available information and application forms.
Above all, make a plan to vote, and be sure to cast your ballot in the March 6, 2023, Annual Town Election!