Running for Town Office
Town Election Process
The Annual Town Election is held on the second Monday in May. The election process begins in February when the offices that are up for election in May are announced. The Town Clerk’s office is the focal point for election information and will publish an Election Calendar with key dates and deadlines. Most offices are for three year terms, except Town Moderator, and begin the day after the election. Each successful candidate must be sworn in immediately after the election before taking any official action. The Town Clerk is available at the Town Meeting the following evening after the election to swear in new or returning officials or during regular business hours at the Town Clerk’s office.
If you are a registered voter and interested in running for a Town Office there are two ways to have your name appear on the ballot for the Annual Town Election:
- Obtain a nomination for that office at the Citizens’ Caucus
- Take out individual nomination papers
You need only complete one of these two processes in order to have your name entered on the ballot.
Citizens’ Caucus – Held in mid March
The Caucus is open to all registered voters of Princeton. The goal of the meeting is to nominate candidates for each of the offices to be filled at the Annual Town Election. A maximum of two candidates can be nominated for each office. Names of candidates are put up for nomination, and the chairman of the caucus calls for a vote. The success of that vote determines whether the candidate will be entered on the ballot.
To be nominated simply request that someone in attendance at the meeting nominate you, or bring along a friend who is a registered voter to enter your name into nomination. The names of candidates nominated at the Caucus are automatically placed on the ballot.
Nomination Papers – Due in late March
Nomination papers can be obtained at the Town Clerk’s Office during regular business hours. The due date for the return of nomination papers is found on the Election Calendar published by the Town Clerk.
- A minimum of 20 signatures of Princeton registered voters must be collected for your name to be placed on the ballot; your own signature can be used to satisfy one of the 20 signature requirement.
- Return the completed nomination papers by the deadline to the Registrars of Voters (Town Clerk’s Office).
- The Registrars of Voters will verify the signatures and notify you as to whether your name will be entered on the ballot. This happens in early April.
To be elected in a general election, such as a Town Election, you must receive more votes than any other candidate whose name is either printed or written in on the ballot. There is no minimum number of votes required.
- Use stickers or simply have people write your name in the Write-In section of the chosen office on the ballot.
- Inform the public about your candidacy
- Check with the Town Clerk if you plan to use stickers as there are requirements for the design and distribution of stickers
Campaign Finance – Multiple deadlines
All candidates, even those running unopposed, must complete Campaign Finance documentation. There are several filing requirement deadlines, and the Town Clerk will send each candidate a calendar with the required forms in early April.
- NOTE – Even if you spend $0 during your campaign or you are not elected to office you must file the appropriate paperwork. This is a Massachusetts General Law requirement.
Please contact the Town Clerk’s office at 978 464-2103 if you have additional questions on the process.