Boston Region MPO - Election Process

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Of the MPO’s 22 voting members, 12 are elected from the region’s 101 municipalities. Each year, a portion of these elected members is chosen by the municipalities' chief elected officials. As specified in the MPO’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (pdf) (html), the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Advisory Board jointly administer the election. Annual elections are held at MAPC’s fall council meeting, and new MPO members take office at the beginning of November of the year in which they are elected.

Nomination Process

Cities
A nominee for an elected municipal seat is the chief elected official of the municipality that will hold the seat. In cities, the chief elected official is the mayor; if the city does not have the office of mayor, then it is the chairman of the council; except for Plan-E cities, in which case it is the city manager (at this time, only Cambridge is a Plan E city). Nominations may be placed by any chief elected official in the MPO region (pdf map) (html list).

Towns
In towns, the chief elected official is the chair of the board of selectmen. In the case of boards of selectmen, the MPO will accept the chairman’s nomination of a candidate whether or not the full board of selectmen has voted on it. Nominations may be placed by any chief elected official in the MPO region (pdf map) (html list).

To be included in the election, a person must receive nominations from at least five of the chief elected officials, who may be from any MAPC subregion. A chief elected official may nominate his or her own municipality (to be represented on the MPO by himself or herself); and that nomination counts as one of the five nominations needed to place that municipality on the ballot. Each chief elected official may nominate only one municipality per subregion.

Nomination papers are submitted with a statement of candidacy at a date and time established by MAPC and the MBTA Advisory Board, and must be filed in person or by US mail at MAPC (address below).

Election Process

  1. Each of the 101 municipalities may vote for one candidate municipality for each open seat.
  2. MAPC and the MBTA Advisory Board send a letter to each chief elected official in the MPO region stating the date, location, and rules of voting. An absentee ballot and instructions for how municipalities may cast their votes also are sent.
  3. MAPC and the MBTA Advisory Board typically provide an opportunity for the electorate to meet representatives of candidate communities during a forum at the State Transportation Building.

Election Day

On the day of the election, the designated officers of MAPC and the MBTA Advisory Board supervise the election, as outlined in the MPO’s MOU of July 7, 2011. Ballots are cast by the chief elected official of the municipality (as defined by the rules for nominees), or that person’s designee. A designee presents a letter signed by the chief elected official to the designated officers of MAPC and the Advisory Board no later than 30 minutes prior to the start of the election. This letter appoints the designee and confirms his or her authority to cast the municipality’s ballot. Such a designation is delivered in person or by mail. Designees may represent only one municipality in the election. The designation may require the designee to vote for specific individuals or vest discretion in the designee.

If the chief elected official is unable to attend the election and does not designate another individual to attend, an absentee ballot may be filed. No faxed or emailed absentee ballots will be accepted; they must be filed in person or by US mail by 5:00 PM on the day before the election, at MAPC (address: below).

Absentee ballots are valid for any election (for example, a run-off election in case of a tie) held on the day of the MPO election for which the candidates selected on the ballot are still eligible to receive votes.

The designated officers of MAPC and the MBTA Advisory Board certify the results of the election to the chair of the MPO by 12:00 noon on the Friday following the election.

Address for MAPC

Metropolitan Area Planning Council
60 Temple Place, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02111
Attention: MPO Elections