Monday marks the beginning a busy local political season but Pepperell's election has an interesting wrinkle -- the ballot is missing a seat.

The town moderator's term expires in the spring but the seat is not listed on the ballot. The current moderator, Scott Blackburn, pulled nomination papers for the seat but did not return them.

"It's a serious election error," said Town Administrator Mark Andrews. He and his assistant Peggy Mazzola found the discrepancy and contacted the Secretary of State.

It was too late to correct the mistake. Ballots were already printed and absentee ballots had gone out.

Town Meeting, on May 1, will need to elect a moderator from the floor, Andrews said. Most likely, the position will be valid until the next qualifying election in spring 2018.

The town clerk will open the meeting and entertain nominations for the position, said temporary Town Clerk Jim Mullen. He was confronted with the issue when he began the job on April 5.

"You can't turn it into a candidates' night," he said. If the seat is contested, there could be a ballot counting that night.

The town expects to have an opinion from Ned Richardson, the town counsel, on how to proceed, Andrews said.

Monday is a busy day locally, with Groton Town Meeting convening that night and Townsend and Ayer, in addition to Pepperell, having local elections.

Follow Anne O'Connor on Twitter @a1oconnor.


Advertisement