Just one contested seat on ballot Saturday in Westhampton

  • Westhampton Town Hall.

Staff Writer
Published: 7/22/2020 6:48:51 PM

WESTHAMPTON — The town will hold its election this Saturday with just one contested race and with no one on the ballot for multiple positions.

The election will be held from 8 a.m. to noon, with Town Hall as the polling site. Early voting is also available, but ballots must be received by the close of the polls Saturday.

The only contested race on the ballot this year is for a two-year position on the Planning Board. In that race, incumbent M. Wade Clement is squaring off against challenger Virginia M. Curtis.

One seat on the Elementary School Committee, a three-year position on the Board of Assessors and a two-year position on the Board of Assessors all have no one running on the ballot for them. That means whoever gets the most write-in votes, even if they receive just a single vote, will win these seats. There are also only two people on the ballot running for three positions on the Finance Committee, with the third position there also set be determined by write-in votes, or perhaps a single vote.

There’s also a ballot question before the voters on whether the town should purchase a four-wheel-drive, one-ton dump truck. Borrowing for the vehicle was approved at this year’s annual town meeting, contingent on the article passing in this election.

“The old one’s starting to have a lot of issues with it,” said Highway Superintendent Bill Jablonski. “It’s starting to rot out real bad.”

He said that the truck it would be replacing is from 1999 and that things have to be done every year to help it pass inspection.

The borrowing authorization for the truck is $120,000, but Jablonski said that he’s “hoping it’s going to come in less than that.”

He also said the truck being four-wheel drive means it could be used to plow snow in the winter.

The town has put a number of provisions into place for safety purposes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are controlling the number of voters and limiting it (to) three at a time,” said Town Clerk Cheryl Provost.

Pencils will not be used by more than one voter, and voters can either keep or throw away those provided to them. Hand sanitizer will be available at the polls, and those checking voters in and out will be separated from the voters via plexiglass.

Face coverings are strongly encouraged for those voting, although Provost said that someone can’t be denied their right to vote for not wearing one. Provost also said masks will be offered to those who come to the polls without face coverings.

Provost said that, based on the turnout at the annual town meeting this year, she expects turnout for Saturday’s election to be lower than normal.

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