Running for Elected Office
The regular town election shall be held on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November in each odd-numbered year.
The term of office for all elected offices is two (2) years.
Any registered voter in the Town of Amherst can sign nomination papers. Voters may sign for as many different candidates as they wish, even for the same office. If voters sign multiple times for the same candidate, only one signature will be certified.
Nomination Papers for District Councilor may only be signed by registered voters in the candidates District.
All those registered to vote in Amherst are eligible to run for Councilor-at-Large, School Committee, Jones Library Trustee, Housing Authority and Elector, Oliver Smith Will.
Voters may only run for District Councilor for the District in which they are registered to vote.
|Elected Office||Signature Requirement|
|Jones Library Trustee||
|Elector, Oliver Smith Will||
Nomination papers will be available from the Town Clerk's office on July 1 prior to the election and must be filed with the Board of Registrars 49 days prior to the election. See Upcoming and Past Elections for dates pertinent to each election.
The Town Clerk advises filing nomination papers early so that in the event that the requisite number of signatures are not obtained, the candidate has time to collect more before the deadline to file.
The last day to object to signatures, or withdraw your name from the ballet is 48 hours following the deadline to file with the Town Clerk, or 33 days before the election. Chapter 53, § 13 requires that withdrawals be "by request signed and duly acknowledge by [the candidate] before a notary public...within the time prescribed..." See Upcoming and Past Elections for dates pertinent to each election.
Chapter 51, §55 provides for candidates for public office to obtain a voter list at no charge. Please consider obtaining your free voter list electronically, rather than in paper, as a sustainable option.
Candidate Statement Policy
Under Section 7.6 of the Amherst Home Rule Charter, the Town Council "shall establish a process compliant with state campaign and political finance laws for candidates whose names will appear on the election ballot to publish statements regarding their candidacy on the Town bulletin board." To view this policy, click Candidate Statement Policy.
Campaigning at Polling Locations
Per Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 54, §65, campaigning must be at least 150 feet from the polling location (sometimes there is more than one entrance.) State law prohibits the display of political paraphernalia within 150 feet of the entrance to the polling location, so signs, stickers, and even lapel buttons are not permitted within this restricted zone. State regulations also prohibit political solicitation within the restricted zone. Voters may take their own personal notes into the polling place as an aid to assist their voting, but this information cannot be shared with other voters or left in the polling place.
Per Amherst Bylaws, signs are not permitted in the public way. Our General Bylaw from 1939 states: “No permit may be issued for, and no political signs may be placed upon, any town common, park, recreation, conservation, or watershed area; nor shall any partisan political sign be allowed to extend into or over the traveled portion of any public street or highway; nor shall any sign be attached to any tree, or to any pole, building, or structure that has been placed on public property for the use of the general public.” Please ensure that signs are only on private property. As a guideline, telephone poles are always in the public way. If a sign is closer to the street than a telephone pole, it is likely in the public way. All signs found in the public way will be removed by staff and taken to DPW, where they can be retrieved during business hours.
Despite some past informal practice, please note that no signs may be placed in the public way near polling locations on Election Day. People may hold campaign signs near polling locations as long as they are at least 150 feet away from the polling location. Unattended signs will be removed by staff and taken to DPW, where they can be retrieved during business hours.
Maps indicating a 150-foot distance to entrances at polling locations are available below.
Precinct 1a - North Zion Church
Precincts 2a, 3a, 4a & 4b - Amherst-Pelham Regional High School
Precinct 1b - Immanuel Lutheran Church
Precinct 5a - Bangs Community Center
Precinct 2b - Fort River School
Precinct 3b - Crocker Farm School
Precinct 5b - Munson Memorial Library
Campaigning During Early and Absentee Voting
Similar to State campaign laws mentioned above, the Town has adopted a policy regarding electioneering during early and absentee voting for all elections located at Town Hall. See policy regarding electioneering and campaign zone map.
All candidates for political office are required to file Campaign Finance Reports. This requirement applies whether or not the candidate forms a committee for the purpose of receiving contributions. See Campaign & Political Finance for filing requirements for the current election, and for filing materials.
The deadline to register to vote is always 20 days prior to each election.
The Town Clerk is always available to answer any questions about running for elected office in the Town of Amherst.