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Southampton readies for May 19 special state senate election

  • AP FILE PHOTO  AP FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 5/14/2020 1:15:50 PM

SOUTHAMPTON – The town has put in place several precautions to curb the spread of COVID-19 for its May 19 special election to fill the vacant 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District seat in the Massachusetts Senate.

The election features a contest between State. Rep. John Velis, D-Westfield, and Republican John Cain, of Southwick. 

The 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District seat was formerly held by Republican state Sen. Donald Humason before he took over as mayor of Westfield in January. The district includes Southampton, Easthampton and Holyoke. 

While elections normally take place in the Southampton Council On Aging space, which is attached to Town Hall, the special election will take place in the first-floor meeting room of Town Hall. Only five voters will be allowed in Town Hall at a time, and marks for social distancing six feet apart will be on the ground both inside and outside the building.

“They’ll be reduced contact,” Town Administrator Ed Gibson said. 

Volunteers also have been limited to people under 60 years of age.

“We have enough workers for check-in and check-out,” Town Clerk Luci Dalton said. “I feel confident.”

Voters are also encouraged to vote by absentee ballot and have until noon on Monday to request their ballots. Those interested in an absentee ballot can contact Dalton at 413-527-8392.

Town elections, which were supposed to be held on May 19, have been pushed back to June 23. The town caucus, which allows residents to get on the ballot for town elections without collecting signatures, also has been canceled this year. A bill is currently making its way through the Legislature that would push back the deadline for submitting papers to run for town office in Southampton this year to May 20 and to reduce the number of signatures needed to 10.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.




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