Hull’s annual town election has been rescheduled to Saturday, May 22, as allowed by Massachusetts officials due to the continuing state of emergency and coronavirus concerns. In a related move, polling hours will be reduced.
Rather than the traditional 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. time frame, voters will be able to cast ballots in person between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. (a reduction of five hours) with the added convenience of an early-voting option. The Board of Selectmen approved the changes this week.
“Please be advised that while formulating this recommendation, I took into consideration the state minimum requirements and voter and election safety. All state requirements will be exceeded,” Town Clerk Lori West wrote in a memo to the board. “Please note that the Annual Town Election is being carefully planned to ensure that all best-practice guidelines for social distancing and sanitization will be followed.”
On March 16, Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation allowing all registered voters to qualify to vote by mail in 2021 elections held on or before June 30.
“As a result, in addition to voting in person on May 22, voters now have the added option of requesting to vote by mail utilizing an ‘early voting’ ballot or the traditional ‘absentee ballot,'” West said. “Efforts will be made to encourage voters to avail themselves of [the absentee and early voting] options, thus minimizing the chance of voter and poll worker exposure to Covid-19 on the day of the election.
“As always, the goal of the Town Clerk’s office is to ensure that all voters who wish to cast ballots may do so safely, easily, and with prompt professional service.”
Voters will cast ballots for new members for the following town agencies: one Board of Selectman member; two Board of Assessors members; one each on the Hull Municipal Light Board, Planning Board, and School Committee; two library trustees; and one each on the Hull Housing Authority and the Hull Redevelopment Authority.