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In instances where an elected official resigns, dies, or is removed from office prior to the expiration of their term, at any level of government, there may be a special election to elect someone to finish the remainder of the term. A special election may run concurrent with a regular election for other offices (or even the same office) if the timing is right. The laws on special elections depend on the office, and are outlined in M.G.L. c. 54, §140 through 147.
Annual Town Elections
Town elections are held annually on the second Saturday of April. Elected Town offices are staggered for balance and there are several boards and committees elected. All Town offices are non-partisan, meaning no political party affiliation is listed on the ballot and no primary elections are held. All Town offices are elected at-large, with the exception of Town Meeting members, who are elected by voting precinct. Winners of Town elections must be sworn-in by the Town Clerk, but assume office as of their election. The following offices are voted on during Annual Town Elections:
|OFFICE||Number of Seats||Term (YEARS)|
|Board of Selectmen
|Board of Assessors||3||3
|Board of Health||3||3|
|Board of Library Trustees||5||3|
|Commissioners of Trust Funds||5||3|
|Parks & Recreation Commission||5||3|
|Town Meeting Member||270||1-3|
Elections for all other offices are regularly scheduled for the first Tuesday in November every even-numbered year. These are State Elections because the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is responsible for conducting the election and recording the results. The offices listed on these ballots are partisan, displaying a candidate's political party affiliation next to or below their name. The only exceptions to this are the seats on the Regional Vocational School Committee.
Partisan elections require primary elections, where candidates for office are featured on separate ballots based on party to determine their party's nominee for the general election. The State Primary is typically the first or second Tuesday of September every even-numbered year, while the Presidential Primary is typically on the first Tuesday in March ("Super Tuesday") every four years. The winners in State Elections take office in January of the year following their election. The following is a list of offices feature on State Election ballots:
|President / Vice President||Federal||United States||4|
|U.S. Congressman||Federal||Massachusetts 8th District||2|
|Governor / Lieutenant Governor||State||Massachusetts||4|
|Secretary of the Commonwealth||State||Massachusetts||4|
|Treasurer and Receiver-General||State||Massachusetts||4|
|Governor's Councillor||State||2nd District||2|
|State Senator||State||Norfolk & Suffolk District||2|
|State Representative||State||11th Norfolk District||2|
|County Commissioner||County||Norfolk County||4|
|District Attorney||County||Norfolk County||4|
|Clerk of Courts||County||Norfolk County||4|
|County Treasurer||County||Norfolk County||6|
|Register of Deeds||County||Norfolk County||4|
|Register of Probate||County||Norfolk County||4|
|Regional Vocational School Committee||County||Avon, Braintree, Canton,
Dedham, Holbrook, Milton,
Norwood, Randolph, Westwood