Voting in Town Elections 2020
At its March 30, 2020 meeting, The Shutesbury Select Board voted to reschedule the Shutesbury’s Annual Election and Town Meeting for Saturday, June 27, 2020. This vote followed the passage of new measures to allow towns to reschedule elections under Chapter 45 of the Acts of 2020 by the State legislature on March 23,2020.
The legislation has increased opportunities for Absentee Voting or Early Voting by mail.
Step 1. Both methods of voting start with a request for a ballot. A registered voter may send a signed, written request, mailed or emailed, to the Town Clerk stating residential address, which type of ballot is being requested (Absentee or Early) and where to mail it. Or you can download either application form. (AV here) or (EV here) Emailing a jpeg of your signed letter or application is also acceptable. Once your request is received, we will mail you a ballot, a ballot envelope (with affidavit and signature line) and an envelope in which to mail the ballot to Town Hall. Requests for ballots can be sent in now. Ballots will be mailed out starting May 1, 2020.
Step 2. Early and Absentee ballots are exactly the same. The affidavits to sign differ slightly. The Absentee Voter is signing that they affirm they are a registered voter in Shutesbury using an absentee ballot because they will be absent from town on election day, or are unable to vote due to a disability (now including the Covid-19 precautions) or religious belief. The Early Voter signs the ballot envelope affidavit affirming they are a registered Shutesbury voter but does not swear to any specific reason. Your ballot affidavit envelope must be signed in order to be counted.
Step 3. The voter then seals the ballot inside the signed envelope and puts that envelope into the mailing envelope with a first class stamp provided by the town. We will not be able to provide a drop off spot and citizens cannot vote in person during the Absentee/Early Voting period because Town Hall remains closed. All mailed ballots must reach the Town Clerk by noon on June 27.
The legislation still requires the opportunity to vote in person on Election Day, June 27th. The polls will be open from 8 am to 2 pm. Social distancing may still be required, and we ask for your cooperation. Annual Town Meeting will convene at 9 am. The location for both events is the Shutesbury Elementary School, 23 West Pelham Rd. If any of these plans are modified, an announcement will be made on the town website, www.shutesbury.org.
You can view a copy of the ballot here.
For the Time Being
The Shutesbury Town Hall is closed to the public, starting March 18, 2020 until further notice. Please use the drop box out front or mail tax payments and other forms instead of dropping them off. You can use the website pages to find information or use the Connect To Town Official List (use drop down menu People) to call or email town officials with questions.
Town Election/Town Meeting
Along with other changes due to Covid-19, Town Elections and Annual Town Meeting will be held outside, under a tent behind Town Hall on Saturday, June 27. Polls open at 8 am and Town Meeting starts at 9 am. Come early to sign in for town meeting so we can begin on time. Registered voters must be present to vote on warrant articles, which may be amended at town meeting.
More information including the warrant and budget will be posted on the home page. STAY TUNED!
Open Meeting Law changes
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, Governor Baker issued an emergency Order on March 12, 2020, allowing public bodies greater flexibility in utilizing technology in the conduct of meetings under the Open Meeting Law. The town of Shutesbury greatly values the participation of its citizens in the public meeting process, but given the current circumstances and recommendations at both the state and federal levels to limit or avoid public gatherings, including Governor Baker’s ban on gatherings of more than 25 people, together with the present closure of Shutesbury Town Hall and other public buildings to the public, the town has decided to implement the “remote participation” procedures allowed under Governor Baker’s emergency Order for all boards, committees, and commissions.
This means that:
1. All or any of the members of the public body may choose to participate in a public meeting via remote access. Meetings may be virtual, in their entirety.
2. The public will not be allowed into a Board/Committee meeting, even where there are any members of the public body and/or town staff or official(s) physically present at the meeting location during the meeting. “Public comment” portions of meetings will be temporarily suspended.
3. However, the public will be provided with alternative access through which they can watch or listen to meetings “in real time,” and meeting notices will specify the manner in which members of the public may access audio or video of the meeting as it is occurring.
4. If, despite our best efforts, our technological capabilities do not adequately support public access to virtual or remote meetings, the town will ensure that an audio or video recording, transcript, or other comprehensive record of the proceedings at the meeting is posted on the town’s website as soon as possible after the meeting.
5. Notices for public hearings will contain additional information about how the public may participate via electronic/technological means.
6. For executive session meetings, public access to the meeting will be limited to the open session portion(s) of the meeting only. Public access to any audio, video, internet or web-based broadcast of the meeting will be discontinued when the public body enters executive session.
7. Where individuals have a right, or are required, to attend a public meeting or hearing, including executive session meetings, they will be provided with information about how to participate in the meeting/hearing remotely.
8. Meeting notices will still be posted at least 48 hours in advance (not counting Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays), unless it is an emergency meeting as defined under the Open Meeting Law (in which event, the meeting notice will be posted with as much advanced notice as is possible in the circumstances). Minutes will still be taken.
The Secretary of the Commonwealth has developed an excellent tool for learning about your voter registration status, who your representatives are, links to their websites showing how to contact them, and other elections related information at the following address. If you have a zip code other than 01072 and your zip code doesn't work for your name, try putting in 01072.
Register to vote: Call Town Clerk (413) 259-1204 to have a mail-in voter registration form sent, stop in Town Clerk’s Office to register in person, or register at the Registry of Motor Vehicles when you renew your driver’s license.
Massachusetts also has On-Line Voter Registration: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ovr
No need to wait for an election — do it anytime!
A Citizen's Petition is a proposal brought to Town Meeting by a citizen or group of citizens which will appear as a warrant article to be voted on. Crafting a successful petition takes time and information gathering is important. For an information sheet that describes the process, click here.
Public Records Requests
Many citizens would like to know more about the activities of committees and boards in town. You may find the information you are seeking on a board or committee's page on the town website. If the information is not there or you don't have web access, you are welcomed to make a public records request to the Town Clerk. You can click here to email your request.
Under state Public Record Law, the requests for public records in Shutesbury are made to Susie Mosher, Town Clerk, our Records Access Officer. Requests can be made in writing or by email. Please include contact your information. For more an update on the Public Records law, go to https://www.sec.state.ma.us/pre/prenotice.htm
Shutesbury has guidelines for the Public Record here.
Minutes for Meetings
The Open Meeting Law Guide describes the requirements for minutes on pages 15-16 and can be read here.
I am attaching samples of minute templates that meet the OML requirements in different styles. Your committee may have their own format that meets the requirements. Table Format Narrative Format You can get copies of these forms in the lower right-hand mailbox in the hallway at Town Hall and from the stand outside the Town Clerk's office.
Mandatory Ethics Training for All Employees and Volunteers
- Summary of the Conflict of Interest Law
- http://www.muniprog.eth.state.ma.us/ Click on assessment lower left column. Then click on Municipal Employee assessment button
Required Information for Appointed and Elected Members of Shutesbury Government
People new to a board or position should get sworn in at the Town Clerk's office and I can hand you the full folder of information. For those who want to read or print themselves a copy of information sheets, the documents are linked here.
- Attorney General's Open Meeting Law Guide
- Open Meeting Law, MGL c. 30A, SS 18-25
- 940 CMR as of Oct. 6, 2017
- Certificate of Receipt of Open Meeting Law Materials
- Open Meeting Law FAQ
- Attorney General's Open Meeting Law webpage with links and information
- Conflict of Interest Law Summary
- Town of Shutesbury Regarding Unlawful Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Policy
- Policy of Non-Discrimination & Grievance Procedure
- Shutesbury Volunteers are "Special Municipal Employees"
- Shutesbury Employee and Volunteer Code of Conduct Policy
- Indemnification of Volunteers
- Fragrance Free and AmericansWith Disabilities Act Requirements
- Guide for Members of Public Boards and Commissions
- https:// www.youtube.com/ watch?v=BFd9PmEhKZk video for Board and Com. Members
DBA information and forms
Information and forms for a DBA certificate can be found here.
License or Re-license Your Dog by Mail or In Person
Filing Marriage Intentions
The current town clerk is not a Justice of the Peace, so marriages are not performed in the Shutesbury Town Hall. Before the marriage ceremony there is a two-step process in my office to obtain a marriage certificate to be signed by an officiant at the ceremony. These two steps require a three -day waiting period..
In Shutesbury there is a Justice of the Peace (Irv Seidman, 259-1458) and an officiant/minister (Dina Stander 259-9125, https://www.dinastander.com/celebrant-services ) You can also find a list of Justices of the Peace at https://www.mjpa.org/ or use the yellow pages.
Here are the Instructions:
First, both people come in to fill out the intention filing, take an oath, and sign the documents. This takes about 30 minutes. The intention filing is good for 60 days before it expires. The cost for filing is $15. Certified copies of the final license are $5 /each.
After a required three-day waiting period, only one person needs to return to proofread and pick up official copy of the license. The license is taken to the ceremony or service and signed by the officiant who conducts the marriage. The signed license is returned to the Town Clerk to file with the state and make certified copies for your records.
My Town Clerk hours are: Mondays 3:00 - 7 pm, Thursday evenings 5 - 7 pm, Tuesday and Friday Mornings 8:30 – Noon, and Wednesday and Thursday, 8:30 – 10:30 am. I am often here later, but you would need to call and check first (259-1204).
Order a Vital Record (Birth, Marriage or Death Certificate)
- Submit request by phone, fax, or email email@example.com.
- Include any known information - name and date preferred.
- Include a $5 per copy payment - cash or check made out to "Town of Shutesbury"
- Include a self-addressed stamped envelope or you
can pick up the certificate at the Town Clerk's office.
Search Vital Records
available and send an estimated cost to complete the research and make copies as requested.