Potential Candidates Stand for Bedford’s 2021 Town Election

With seats on several boards without candidates last week, as of Wednesday, Jan. 27, each contest has at least one candidate except the Board of Assessors. (Click this link to learn more about Ron Cordes’s thoughts about serving as an Assessor)

With thanks to the Town Clerk’s office for the list of residents who have visited the Town Clerk’s office to sign a statement of intent and collect a candidate packet that includes nomination papers.

Candidate packets are available through the Town Clerk’s office until 5 pm on Wednesday, February 5, and must be returned for verification of signatures by noon on Friday, February 8.

February 5 and must be returned for verification of signatures by noon on Friday, February 8.

What Does a Town Assessor Do?

The elected Board of Assessors is composed of three townspeople, each elected for a three-year term. Elected Assessors must pass a training course provided by the state Department of Revenue which teaches, among other things, the state-approved methods for assessing the value of all real and personal property in the Town. From this, you may correctly infer that Assessors are not allowed to use whatever methods they want in assessing property. They are required, both under the order of the State Supreme Judicial Court and Massachusetts General Law, to follow the procedures approved by the Department of Revenue.
Assessors perform two separate and distinct functions.

The Town of Bedford Needs You!

Editor’s Note–As of Friday, Jan. 8, we continue to wait for the confirmation of the Governor’s signature on the bill that authorizes changes to our Town Election procedures.  The legislation includes a requirement of 10 versus 50 signatures of registered voters to qualify for placement on the ballot for the Town Election on March 13.

Ensuring that our Town’s elected boards operate effectively requires complete boards with members elected by residents.  Therefore, we need to ensure that these vital parts of the management of our Town are fully staffed through the Town Election on March 13.  Ideally, voters will have choices between candidates to ensure that the board members represent the community.

Letter to the Editor: A Call for Participatory Local Government

We have been inundated and consumed with the politics of our democracy at the national level for the last year or more. But what of the local level? Former MA Congressman and Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neil, famously said “All politics is local.” By extension, if our democracy is to thrive at the national level, it must also thrive at the local level.

Bedford’s “Open Town Meeting” form of government, is a “direct democracy” – every resident registered voter has a say and vote at Town Meeting. While we rightly take great pride in this tradition, it does not afford the individual voting resident much power or influence regarding the direction and creation of town policy. That work is done well in advance of discussions that take place on Town Meeting floor – in committees and board meetings throughout the year – when the greatest impact can be had.

Bedford 2021 ~ A Town Election in the Time of Pandemic

Editor’s Note—Breaking News: At least four town offices on Bedford’s March 13 ballot are wide open on the night when the citizens caucus would have taken place if it was a virus-free year.

Planning Board member Jeffrey Cohen, Assessor Ronald Cordes, Housing Authority member Lewis Putney and Glenn McIntyre, a member of the Shawsheen Valley Technical High School Committee, have all confirmed that they are not running for re-election.

Two others said they are unsure of their plans: Anta Raj of the Board of Heath and Library Trustee Dennis Ahern.  Another Board of Health member whose term is expiring, Sarah Thompson, could not be reached.

Only three office-holders are currently candidates for re-election: School Committee member Dan Brosgol, Select Board member Margot Fleischman, and Michael Pulizzi of the Board of Library Trustees.

If these were normal times the Town Election season would start tonight January 5 with the annual Town Caucus.  Bedford registered voters would gather in the Reed Room in Town Hall to hear nominations, statements of support, candidate statements and vote to designate two candidates for each position as a “Caucus Nominee.” 

Additional candidates as well as those who were not nominated by the Caucus would still have the option of appearing on the ballot, but would need to complete nomination papers requiring the signatures of fifty registered Bedford voters.

Update: Bedford Caucus Legislation with Reduced Signature Requirement Heading Down to the Wire at the State House

Legislation permitting candidates for Bedford town office to qualify for the ballot with only 10 residents’ signatures on nominating petitions is expected to become law.
The provision is part of a bill that allows the town to defer the 2021 citizens’ nominating caucus for safety reasons. The bill has been approved by the House and the counsel for the State Senate and could be voted by the Senate and sent to the governor as soon as tonight, according to Bedford State Rep. Kenneth Gordon.

The 2020 Presidential Election is Underway in Bedford

By mid-week, almost 39% of Bedford’s 10,000+ registered voters cast their ballots in the November 3 election. Of the 5,431 ballots mailed to Bedford residents, 3,116 were returned and 916 people took advantage of early voting. Click this link for early voting hours through Friday, October 30.

In addition to candidates for president, voters will choose Massachusetts’ next senator, our congressman, state senator, state representative, councillor, register of probate, and decide four ballot questions.

State Representative Ken Gordon and Rabbi Susan Abramson shared their video about the importance of voting.

OpEd: Write-in Candidate for State Senate, Peter G. Hill

Senator Michael Barrett is running unopposed for State Senate here in Massachusetts.  I am asking voters to write in my name Peter G. Hill for State Senate.  One asks why I would ask you to do this.

Early Voting is Underway in Bedford

A Bedford virologist who cited Dr. Anthony Fauci as her ‘personal hero’ was the first voter in line, waiting for the polls to open Saturday afternoon. She was joined by about a dozen others, and the group became a small crowd before the first vote was cast.

The Reed Room at Town Hall is arranged to accommodate appropriate social distancing with plenty of sanitzer on hand.

Bedford’s AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminal, an optical scan ballot marker, is available for individuals unable to personally mark their ballot due to visual limitations, physical impairments, or language barriers.

Early in-person voting is available daily through Friday, October 30. Click this link for the full schedule of weekday and weekend hours.

Unregistered voters have another week (Saturday, October 24)  to get onto the voter rolls. The online or in person registration deadline is October 24; mailed registration must be postmarked by October 24.

And there is still time to request an absentee ballot. All requests must be received by 5 pm on Wednesday, October 28. Returned ballots must be postmarked or returned in person by the close of the polls on Tuesday, November 3

And So It Begins: Town Clerk Bridget Rodrigue Mails First Batch of Ballots to Bedford Voters

With roughly 5,000 of Bedford’s 10,536 registered voters requesting vote-by-mail ballots for the November 3 election, Town Clerk Bridget Rodrique is clearly heading into her office’s busiest season.

In a recent interview, Rodrigue seemed unfazed, noting that she loves being busy; has an experienced and supportive staff; and has a well-developed plan in place. In addition, the Town Clerk’s office has been reconfigured for efficiency and security to support preparing and mailing ballots, then storing them safely until they are counted on Election Day.

Bedford’s ballots were expected to be received by October 9, but they arrived last Friday, and a complex process is underway.

Pre-Election Calendar

National Register to Vote Day ~ Tuesday, September 22

If you’re not already registered to vote in the Presidential Election on November 3, National Register to Vote Day, September 22, is a good time to check your voter registration or add your name to the voter rolls so that you can cast your ballot.

Massachusetts Primary Tally ~ September 1, 2020

With special thanks to Town Clerk Bridget Rodrigue, the staff in the Town Clerk’s office, and the poll workers who conducted a socially distanced and masked election from 6 am to 8 pm and then counted votes until 11 pm on Election Night.

Total Ballots Cast ~ 4,611

Democratic ~ Total Ballots Cast, 3864

Senator In Congress
Edward J. Markey, 2611
Joseph P. Kennedy, III, 1236

Representative In Congress
Seth Moulton, 2772
Jamie M. Belsito, 349
Angus G. McQuilken, 635

Marilyn M. Petitto Devaney, 3062

Senator In General Court
Michael J. Barrett, 3283

Representative In General Court
Kenneth I. Gordon, 3378

Register Of Probate
Tara E. Decristofaro, 3079
Republican ~ Total Ballots Cast, 721

Senator In Congress
Shiva Ayyadurai, 228
Kevin J. O’Connor, 364

Representative In Congress
John Paul Moran, 512

Green Rainbow ~ Total Ballots Cast, 13

Libertarian ~ Total Ballots Cast, 13

Election Day is Done ~ It’s All Over But the Counting

Bedford’s polls closed with a small flurry of activity at 8 pm on Tuesday, as election workers began to put their workspaces in order.

Town Clerk Bridget Rodrigue said the count isn’t official yet, but Tom Larkin, holding a sign for his favored senatorial candidate, said that he heard that 4,000 votes were cast around 7 pm.

Bedford’s Polls are Open and the Count is Underway

A scant crowd, fewer than a dozen, waited for the doors to open at Bedford’s polling place in the John Glenn Middle School shortly before 7 am on Tuesday morning.

Town Clerk Bridget Rodrigue note that in-person early voting had been strong, and mail-in voting was even stronger.

The Citizen will be checking back throughout the day, bringing you pictures and vote total updates.

Why I Vote ~ Personal Reflections, Part III

You may have heard that the upcoming election is the most important election ever. It is, but they all are because America’s democracy rests on active engagement by all its citizens.

The Bedford Citizen’s tribute to the Class of 2020 ended with an article reminding the class to join the ranks of registered voters. The idea of voting for the first time is exciting, so we’re sharing those ‘first vote’ stories again as Massachusetts gears up for its September 1 Primary.

In today’s installment, you’ll hear from Teri Morrow, Jennifer Harrington, Lalitha Gunturi  Ranganath, Gene Kalb, and Laura Bullock.

VOTE ~ A New PSA Tells How via Bedford TV and YouTube

The League of Women Voters of Bedford and Bedford TV have again collaborated to produce a public service announcement for an important upcoming town election.

This one focuses on the upcoming elections on Primary on September 1 and the General Election on November 3, highlighting early voting for each election, voting by mail, and in-person voting at the polls.

Why I Vote ~ Personal Recollections, Part I

You may have heard that the upcoming election is the most important election ever. It is, but really they all are because America’s democracy rests on active engagement by all its citizens. The Bedford Citizen’s tribute to the Class of 2020 ended with an article reminding the class to join the ranks of registered voters. The idea of voting for the first time is exciting, so we’re sharing these ‘first vote’ stories again as Massachusetts gears up for its September 1 Primary. In today’s installment, the first in a series of three, you’ll hear from Meredith McCulloch, Susanne Durato, Sarita Pillai, Bob Dorer, and Sandra Hackman.