Inside Winchester



Table of Contents

Winchester--Village and Town
Statistical Summary
Elections
Town Meeting
Town Government
Town Manager
Community Programs
Health Services
Town Finance
Planning, Zoning, and Building
Schools
The Public Library

ELECTIONS

Traditionally in Winchester, townspeople have participated enthusiastically in the management of public affairs. The appointment of a Town Manager and the reorganization of many departments under the Director of Public Works has meant a more professional staff to deal with community affairs. However, contests for volunteer positions on Town boards and committees still spark excitement during the late winter election season, competition is keen, and public issues are hotly debated. The League of Women Voters sponsors a program called "Day at the Races", and Cable 3 Public Access Channel has televised taped debates on town-wide contested offices. Thus, voters may meet those running for office and hear their interpretations of community problems.

The climax of the campaign manager's pleadings, the morning coffees, afternoon teas, and evening sherries, comes the last Tuesday in March Election Day. Cable TV Channel 3 broadcast polling figures all evening, as the Town Clerk tallies the results: "victory party" guests at candidates' home tune in to learn the happy or sad news.

Voter Registration

To vote, one must be an American citizen, a resident of the town, at least 18 years of age, and BE REGISTERED.

Voters register at the Town Clerk's office, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Voters may also register by mail on forms available at the Public Library and Post office or on request from the office of the town clerk, 721-7130. Registration may be done at any office of the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Registration lists close on the 20th day preceding any election. Voter Registration need not be renewed as long as you reside in Winchester.

It is important for every voter to make sure that his or her name is included in the annual census. Accurate census affects Winchester's grants in aid, school population projections, and representation in the legislature. Persons expecting to be away from home in January should notify the Town Clerk. The Census listing is used as a basis for revising the List of Voters and adjusting precinct lines. An official notice is sent before the voter's name is dropped from the voting list.

Winchester elections are held on a nonpartisan basis, but to vote in state or national primary elections, one must declare a party choice at the polls. Party enrollment cards are available at the polls on primary day. This party enrollment becomes a matter of record, but it may be changed at the polls, by mail or in person at the Town Clerk's office.

VOTING PROCEDURES:

There are eight voting precincts in Winchester, and four polling places (as of 9/11/02):

	Precincts 1 and 2	Muraco School
	Precinct 3 and 4	McCall School
	Precinct 5 and 6	Vinson-Owen School
	Precinct 7 and 8	Lynch School

Sample ballots are posted in the voting place. No one may be approached on political matters within 150 feet of the polls. If illness or absence from town prevents a personal appearance at the polls, an application for an absentee ballot may be made to the Town Clerk. Completed application forms must be received by the Clerk before noon on the last business day preceding the election. The absentee ballot may be mailed and ust be received in the Clerk's office before the closing of the polls on election day. Voters may also make arrangements to vote by absentee ballot in the Clerk's office. Town elections take place on the last Tuesday in March. State and national elections occur on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November. National party primaries are held in March of presidential election years. State primaries are held in even-numbered years on the seventh Tuesday prior to state elections, usually around the middle of September. Polls are open for all elections for all elections from 7:00 AM until 8:00 PM.

Candidates for Town Office

Any registered voter in Winchester may run for Town office by filing papers at the Town Clerk's office on or before the 28th day, before the election. Blank nomination papers are available there, on which the candidate must secure signatures of registered voters. A minimum of fifty signatures is required for townwide office. Ten signatures from within the candidates precinct are required to run for Town Meeting Member. Signatures must correspond with those on the official List of Voters. A candidate accepts nomination by signing at least one nomination paper to this effect. Seven days prior to the deadline of the 28th day, the papers must be filed with the Clerk for certification by the Board of Registrars. Once the signatures are certified, the candidate's name is placed on the ballot. Should the candidate decide to withdraw, a formal request must be made to the Clerk within 24 hours of the filing deadline.


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