Chester Makes Plans for Special Election for State Rep

CHESTER – At their most recent meeting, the board of selectmen agreed to move forward with a special election to choose a replacement State Representative for Rockingham County District 4.
Though the selectmen moved to hold the election concurrent with the school district’s annual meeting to save money, it is not clear how they would do that, as the district holds its polling concurrent with the town in May. Only its traditional district meeting is held in March.
To hold the election, however, the selectmen will have to coordinate with the governor’s office to set a date for the polling.

Led by selectman and state representative Joseph Hagan, the selectmen agreed to hold the special election to replace Stella Tremblay, R-Auburn, who resigned her seat in the middle of last term. Chester, along with Sandown and Auburn, comprise the district.
According to the selectmen’s discussions at their Thursday, Oct. 3 meeting, the secretary of state will allow the board to call the election, as long as some timelines are observed.
According to Dave Scanlan, deputy secretary of state, if a board of selectmen from one of the towns within the district coordinates with the governor and council, the election can be held whenever it is easiest for the town, pending timeline restrictions.
According to the state law that governs the matter, the election must be held on a Tuesday not less than 110 nor more than 124 days following the day that the governor and council declare there shall be a special election.
The Tri-Town Times had previously reported that a call for election must be within 21 days of a resignation, but the law is more flexible than that, according to Scanlan. Many towns wait to ask permission until they can correlate the special election with already scheduled elections.
Selectman chair Steph Landau, noting the $1,500 to $2,000 cost of a special election, suggested it be held in conjunction with the school district’s annual meeting, a suggestion agreed to by the rest of the board. The school district has a traditional meeting with no separate secret ballot voting.
As discussed at last week’s meeting, the board is looking to the second Tuesday in March for the special election.
Scanlan explained that only one election needs to be held if there is only one candidate for each party, but should there be multiple candidates, a general and primary election will have to be held. A primary must be held 49 days prior to the special election.
On average, four to five special elections are held each year across the state, according to Scanlan.
Landau suggested that Sandown and Auburn be apprised of Chester’s decision as a courtesy before moving forward.

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