From the Town Clerk…
As an open Town Meeting community, Bellingham’s local election is held in the spring. Beginning in 2024, the local election will be held in June instead of May. This change was voted in at Town Meeting in 2022 as part of a bylaw update. There will be no elections in Bellingham (state or local) in November of 2023.
REMINDER: Annually in January, when you receive your town census form, there is a statement referencing Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) with regards to penalties for not returning your census information
(MGL Chapter 51, Section 4c: “Failure to respond to this mailing shall result in removal from the active voting list and may result in removal from the voter registration rolls”).
After the census is complete and the annual Street List/Residents books are printed, the Town Clerk
is obliged to notify those who have not returned their census for the current year, and thus begins
the process of removal from the voter rolls. The process can take up to two years for the actual removal. Therefore, if you receive a “Confirmation Card” in the mail, please do not panic! Simply fill out the card to let us know that you are still residing in Bellingham, and we will remove you from the inactive voter list. The card may be returned by mail using the postage paid portion of the mailer, by dropping in the blue dropbox at the entrance of the Municipal Center or by delivery to the Town Clerk’s office. If you go to polls and have not returned the card, you will be asked to complete a form signifying that you have continuously been a Bellingham resident. You will then be taken off the inactive list and allowed to vote. If after two State election cycles, you have not properly declared your continuous Bellingham residency, you will be permanently deleted from the voter rolls.
As you can see, this is a long and involved process that can be completely avoided by simply returning your annual census in a timely manner. As well, it is a costly endeavor in both labor and material costs.
Confirmation Cards are being mailed out in early November. If you receive one, please complete the card and sign it, then return it as soon as possible.
Bellingham’s annual census forms will be mailed out in mid-January of 2024. Please do your best to comply with the 10-day return window. At the very latest, please be sure to have it in by April 1st, the same day that dog licenses are due. So, if you have a dog, please send the renewal in (with rabies information and a check) with your census and you will avoid any possibilities of dog late fees or inactive voter status.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!