How to Run for Political Office in New Bedford

City Elections are governed under the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 51 section 16A, providing for a board of election commissioners.

Candidate: definition, any individual who seeks nominating or election to public office, whether or not such individual is nominated or elected.

Local elections are non-partisan- under plan B C43 S 44, and are held on the 4th Tuesday preceding every City Election. Therefore it is held on the First Tuesday in October. Polls open from 10:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.

Nomination papers are official documents, required by law, that must be circulated for signatures of registered voters and properly file before a candidate s name may be printed on the ballot.

Candidates are required to file nomination papers, with at least 50 signatures by 5:00 P.M. on a specified date, with the Board of Election Commissioners. These signatures are then certified and the candidate becomes eligible to be placed on preliminary ballot. The candidate has 48 hours after filing deadline to withdraw his nomination papers or file objections to nomination papers. Candidates are recommended to collect more signatures than required because many may be disallowed either in the certification process or through challenges. Registrars are required by law to certify 2/5th more than the number of signatures required.

Nomination papers – candidates must fill in all information in front of nomination papers. The name of the candidate, residence, the office he/she is running, whether it is at-large or ward, before any signatures are gathered. Nomination papers without this information cannot be counted!

Candidates running At-Large can obtain signatures in any ward within the city, however ward candidates can only obtain signatures from the residents in the specific ward they reside in and want to represent.

All signatures on nomination papers must be legible and signed in person with the name substantially as registered. Signers must include their complete present address. Signers must use street addresses, not mailing addresses such as post office box numbers. Do not use nicknames or initials in place of given names. To avoid legal objections it is wise to consult a voting list if available and sign as registered.

No person may sign for another unless authorized to do so by a voter who is physically disable and unable to sign personally. Otherwise, if the signature is not made by the actual voter it is subject to challenge. For example, a husband may not sign for a wife and wife may not sign for a husband unless one of them is physically disabled.

A voter may sign once for each candidate for an office. If a voter signs more than once for the same candidate that voter’s name will be certified only once. Additional signatures will be disallowed. However, voters may now sign for as many different candidates as they wish, even for the same office.

Statement on Preliminary Nomination papers – There is a space on the nomination paper where you make a statement in not more than eight words list public office you previously held. If you are now an elected incumbent seeking the same nomination you may include the phrase candidate for re-nomination . The word Veteran may be used if you are a veteran as defined in section 1 of Chapter 31 of the General Laws.

Winners of the Preliminary elections will be the candidates in the Municipal Election on the First Tuesday in November.

Candidates are required, in an election year to file three (3) Political Finance Statements with the Board of Election Commissioners. Eight days before the Preliminary, eight days before the Election and on January 20 of the following year.

Candidates are responsible for their own political signs and must observe the laws, specifically on election day as it pertains to accessibility to polls and the 150 foot law and unattended signs.