How to Run for Ward Committee during the Presidential Primary Election in 2016. All current and prospective members must appear on the ballot!
This fall Newton's Democratic Ward Committees will be putting together slates to form our City's eight ward committees during the Presidential primary election next year. This important process takes place every four years and we want you to join or run for re-election! Being part of a ward committee is a great way to stay connected to local politics and help make sure Democrats stay strong. Please see the Q&A below for more information, and let us know if you have any questions.
What do I need to do to get on the ballot this fall?
Contact your ward chair - click here for a list - and let them know you are interested and sign their slate nomination paper. They will be gathering names through the months of August, September and October. That's the easiest way. You can join in other ways too--see below for more info.
Why must ward and town committee members be elected every four years?
The organization of political committees is governed by Massachusetts state law. The law requires that members be elected during Presidential primary elections to serve four year terms. Click here to see a very informative booklet about this process from the Secretary of State’s Office.
What if I am already a member of a Ward Committee? Do I need to appear on the ballot again to stay on the Committee?
Yes, unless you have been on your committee for 20 years or more. If you aren't able to get on the ballot for some reason (say you are out of town through November) but still want to be a member in 2016, your ward committee can reappoint you to an open seat (if there is one) after the Presidential primary.
What if I am a 20 year member - should I get on the ballot?
No. People who have been on a Ward Committee for 20 years are lifetime members. They don't need to run again, and indeed shouldn't get on the ballot so there can be room for other interested individuals.
What is the time frame for this process?
Nomination papers are available now and must be returned on or before 5:00 pm on November 4, 2015. Ward committee chairs will probably start asking people to sign on to their slate in September.
What if I have never been involved with a Ward Committee—can I participate in this process?
Absolutely; we would love to have you involved. You can run on a ward slate or as an individual. See below for more information.
How do I get on a Ward slate?
Just let the chair of your Ward Committee know you are interested. You can find their contact information here.
How do I run as an individual?
All you need to do is take out nomination papers at Newton City Hall, get the requisite signatures and return them on or before November 6. You can also run as a write-in candidate; just a few votes will get you on the committee, if the ward slate isn’t full!
Should I run as an individual or on a Ward Committee slate?
That’s up to you, but it’s much easier to run on a slate. Slates appear on the ballot first, and all a voter needs to do is check one box for the whole slate instead of voting person by person. Click here to see a 2008 ballot.
What if I don’t make it onto the ballot? Does that mean I can never join?
Definitely not! Each Ward Committee has 35 seats that have a four-year term. If some of those seats are open after the Presidential primary election, you can be voted onto the Committee by the current Ward members. You would just need to attend a meeting, have someone nominate you and have a majority of members vote “aye!”—lots of people have joined in this way.