Town elections for both Plympton and Halifax will be held this Saturday, June 20. The Plympton town election will take place at the town house from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Halifax will hold their election at the Halifax Elementary School gym from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. These elections mark the first time the state has allowed early mail-in voting for local elections.
Halifax Town Administrator Charlie Seelig told the Express that to his knowledge, there wasn’t anyone that tried to pull papers to run for an elected position that was unable to do so due to the shutdown. Seelig did say, however, that there were some town officials who elected not to run again. Several candidates are running uncontested for re-election. This includes John Shiavone for a three-year term on the Board of Assessors, Patricia McCarthy for a four-year term on the Housing Authority, Diane Ruxton for a three-year term on the Board of Library Trustees, Edward Desharnais Jr. for a three-year term on the Silver Lake Regional School Committee, and Troy Garron for a three year term on the Board of Selectmen. Richard Clark is also running for re-election uncontested for a five-year term on the Housing Authority as well as a three-year term on the Board of Water Commissioners. Both Robert Johnson and Alison Vance are running for re-election uncontested for the two spots available on the Halifax Elementary School Committee.
There is one seat available for a one-year term on the Planning Board with two candidates running against one-another. Candidates Alan Dias and Ashley DiSesa both appeared before the Planning Board and the Board of Selectmen in January to fill a vacant position on the Board. At the time, DiSesa won the seat through a vote of the selectmen and Planning Board members though support was not unanimous. DiSesa must once again best Dias in votes, this time from the town, in order to remain on the Planning Board. The other contested race is between incumbent Steven Hayward and Michael Schleiff for Highway Surveyor. Late Tuesday afternoon the Express was told that John Taglini is a write-in candidate for the: Halifax Elementary School Committee and the Silver Lake Regional School Committee.
Unlike the situation in Halifax, Plympton Town Clerk Patricia Detterman said that many people in Plympton did have difficulty pulling nomination papers due to the shutdown. The only candidates to successfully make their deadlines to have their signatures certified to be on the ballot were Mark Russo who is running for re-election for a three-year term on the Board of Selectmen and Daniel Cadogan who is seeking a three-year term on the Plympton School Committee. There are several positions with terms expiring despite not appearing on the ballot. Included among those are Jason Fraser and Jon Wilhelmsen who have both expressed interest in continuing to serve on the Plympton School Committee and in Fraser’s case the Silver Lake Regional School Committee as well.
Detterman said, “Saturday’s election will look a bit different this year. Masks and six feet social distancing rules are encouraged. We will have one-way traffic through the polls to avoid some of the socializing done in our front hall when voters are coming and going.” Other safety protocols will also be in place including handing out pens with each ballot rather than sharing pencils. The pens will be sanitized after each use. Both sanitizer as well as masks will be provided for anyone who doesn’t bring their own. Each occupied voting booth will have an empty one in between them in order to increase social distancing. A single booth will be designated for those unable to wear a mask due to health reasons and it will be sanitized in between each use.
“The election workers who are scheduled for Saturday have expressed they feel safe and want to participate in this event,” Detterman said. She also said that last year’s election yielded a 6 percent voter turnout with 128 ballots cast. Detterman said she is expecting the same for Saturday’s election.