May 15, 2021

From the Town Clerk

Posted

Hello All ~ The temperature is warming; flowers blooming; birds singing ~ Happy Spring!  March has certainly been crazy busy for the Town Clerk’s Office.  During the month of March, we processed thousands of census forms and dog licenses, while also preparing for the April 6th Annual Town Election, working on the Town Clerk’s portion of the 2020 Annual Report and completing the Town Clerk’s fiscal year 2022 budgets.  In addition to the normal busy March, this year I spent considerable time lobbying with Representative Howitt, Senator Feeney, State Elections and the Massachusetts Town Clerk’s Association to make sure the COVID-19 Pandemic election accommodations, which were afforded the voters in the 2020 elections, were extended to include our Annual Town Election.  The prior legislation was approved only through March 31, 2021 but on Tuesday, March 16th Governor Baker signed the bill into law extending the deadline to June 30, 2021.

This extension allows the voters of Rehoboth to choose one of three voting methods in the upcoming election:  Vote by - Absentee Ballot (due to COVID-19 concerns), In-Person Early Voting (March 27-April 1) and In-Person on Election Day (April 6).  I am proud to be a part of the legislative process that enabled the voters in Rehoboth, and 214 other municipalities in the Commonwealth, the ability to choose their preferred voting method during the pandemic.  Please remember to vote, if you have not done so already via Absentee Ballot or In-Person Early Voting, please vote on Tuesday, April 6thAll three precincts will be voting at one location for this election: Dorothy L. Beckwith Middle School Gymnasium – 330R Winthrop Street (Route 44) behind Palmer River Elementary.  Polls open at 7:00 AM and close at 8:00 PM

ANNUAL TOWN ELECTION
Usually, in the April issue of my Reporter article, I am providing an update on the Annual Town election results.  This year, the Reporter really scrambled to get the April issue out prior to the April 6th Election (in households by Saturday, April 3rd), so voters can receive last minute details on the upcoming election.  As a result, the Reporter will post the April 6, 2021 Annual Town Election results on their website (https://reportertoday.com/rehoboth/) once I send them the unofficial election results on election night. Results will first be posted on the Town Website under “News and Announcements” https://www.rehobothma.gov/

VOTER REMINDER: ALL THREE PRECINCTS WILL BE VOTING AT A NEW POLLING LOCATION ~ THE DOROTHY L. BECKWITH MIDDLE SCHOOL GYMNASIUM ON TUESDAY, APRIL 6, 2021 – Polls open from 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM.  Please refer to the mailer I sent out on Friday, March 19th for complete details.  If you need a copy, please call our office 508-252-6502 or download from the website @

https://www.rehobothma.gov/home/news/important-covid-19-early-voting-polling-location-changes-april-6-2021-annual-town-election

Important Absentee Ballot Reminders:   
As per Massachusetts General Law, Mail-In Absentee Ballot Applications may only be accepted by our office until 5:00 PM on Wednesday, March 31 for the upcoming Election.

Absentee Ballots mailed from our office include a white return ballot envelope that is addressed to the Town Clerk's Office.  You may return your ballot by mail to our office – 148 Peck Street, Rehoboth or hand deliver your ballot by placing it in the official ballot drop box outside of the Town Offices – see image below.  Deadline to return your voted ballot is close of polls (8:00 PM) on Election Day. Ballots CANNOT be returned to the polling location on Election Day - they must be returned to the Town Clerk’s Office/Outside Drop Box for processing.

Mail-In Absentee Ballot Application Deadline
Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 5:00 PM – by law we cannot accept a “mail-in” absentee ballot application received after the 5:00 PM deadline on March 31st

In-Person Absentee Ballot Application-(Appointment Only) Deadline
Monday, April 5, 2021 at Noon – please call 508-252-6502 to schedule your appointment.

Deadlines for Voted Absentee Ballots to be Returned and Counted
All voted ballots must be received at Town Hall by 8:00 PM on April 6, 2021

Before you return your ballot please make sure you:

  • Complete your ballot
  • Put your ballot inside the small brown security envelope and seal the envelope closed.
  • VERY IMPORTANT - Please sign line #1 of the brown ballot security envelope.  We cannot process your ballot without your signature.
  • Place the brown signed security envelope inside the "white" return envelope and either drop off at the Town Hall Ballot Drop Box or place in the mail to us at 148 Peck Street. 

How You Can Save Time at the Polls
Informed voters will reduce the amount of time necessary in the voting booths and reduce lines and crowding while voting. The Offices up for election this year can be found on the Sample Ballot located at the 12 posting locations around the town or on the Town Clerk’s Website @ https://www.rehobothma.gov/town-clerk/pages/elections-voting-links

Know the COVID-19 Safety and Social Distancing Protocols required by the Governor @ https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-prevention-and-treatment  to keep everyone healthy and safe:

  • Please do NOT go to the POLLS if you are sick or have been exposed to anyone with the virus leading up to Election Day.
  • Wear a Face Covering or One Will Be Provided.
  • Hands Will Be Sanitized Prior To Entering Voting Area or Gloves Will Be Provided.
  • Bring a Pen – Blue or Black Ink Sharpie or Paper Mate Flair (if you don’t want to borrow one).
  • Bring a Clip Board or Book to mark your ballot on (if you don’t want to use a Voting Booth).
  • Bring an ID – in some cases voters will be required to show an ID.
  • Don’t Touch Your Face while at the polling location.
  • Maintain Social Distancing – keep 6 feet away from anyone not from your household.
  • Keep your ballot dry and free from hand sanitizers – to avoid tabulator issues.

Final Election Update ~ There are three contested races this year:  Selectman, School Committee and Town Clerk.  Please make sure you vote in this very important April 6, 2021 Annual Town Election.  As you know, I personally believe, voting is a tremendous gift and your vote is so important in deciding the forward motion of our town government.  As President Roosevelt so eloquently stated: “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt. 

ELECTED AND APPOINTED TOWN OFFICIALS
A reminder to our elected and appointed town officials; you should be aware that no action can be taken by you in your position until you have taken the Oath of Office.  Also, should you ever have reason to resign from your position; your resignation should be directed to the Town Clerk as per MGL c41, s109.  Thank you!

2021 DOG LICENSES ARE NOW PAST DUE
2021 Dog licenses were due April 1, 2021.  You may purchase your dog’s license through e-mail to TownClerk@rehobothma.gov, drop off your application and payment in the gray drop box at town hall (148 Peck Street), online @ https://www.invoicecloud.com/rehobothgovsvcs,

or by mail (if paying by mail or drop off, checks should be made payable to the “Town of Rehoboth”). The licensing fees are as follows:  Male or female dog $20.00; spayed or neutered dogs $10.00.  Whether renewing online, via mail, or in person, dog license applications must be accompanied by a current year rabies certificate (with a vaccination date covering the current licensing year) and proof of spay or neuter [if applying for the $10 licensing fee] unless we already have your documentation on file in the Clerk’s Office.  If you are unsure, please give our office a call, and we can provide your dog’s licensing information. 

Please renew your dog licenses as soon as possible to avoid late fees coming in June ~ thank you.  To date we registered 1,021 dogs and still have over 1,200 to register.  Remember, in addition to being a legal requirement, registering your dog assures the prevention of rabies, and provides easy identification to return lost dogs to their owners because they are now in our database. Thank you to all 1,021 residents for renewing your dog’s licenses so promptly. 

Also, another reminder to those residents 70 years of age or older . . . if over 70 years old, as per MGL 140§139(c) and town meeting vote, the Clerk’s Office will waive the $10/$20 license fee; however, you must still apply for the license and show the current year rabies certificate.

ANNUAL TOWN MEETING
Rehoboth voters are advised that the date for the Annual Town Meeting, and a Special Town Meeting preceding the Annual, has been scheduled by the Board of Selectmen for Tuesday, May 11th, at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Ramada Inn Ballroom (Formerly the Johnson and Wales Inn) 213 Taunton Avenue (Route 44) Seekonk, MA 02771 - The Special Town Meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. with the Annual Town Meeting following immediately after at 7:30 p.m. 

UPCOMING VOTER REGISTRATION SESSION
The final Voter Registration date to be eligible to participate in the Special and Annual Town Meeting has been scheduled for Friday, April 30, 2021 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Rehoboth Town Clerk’s Office. Prospective voters are reminded that they may also register to vote online by going to www.RegisterToVoteMA.com or by picking up a voter registration form at the Rehoboth Post Office, by calling the Town Clerk’s Office to request a Mail-In voter registration form, or download a form online @

http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/elepdf/Voter-reg-mail-in.pdf

ANNUAL TOWN CENSUS FORMS ARE NOW PAST DUE
Our Annual Town Census Forms for year 2021 were mailed to all households in Rehoboth during the first week of January.   If you did not receive your census form, please contact the Town Clerk’s Office.  Residents were asked to review the pre-printed forms, make corrections, and return them by the January 31, 2021 deadline.  As of March 27th, we have a total of 1,548 households that still need to return their forms: Precinct 1 = 483 households in Precinct 2 = 486 households, and 579 households in Precinct 3.  If you haven’t returned your 2021 census form, please send it to the Town Clerk’s office as soon as possible.  A friendly reminder, failure to return the completed census form may result in voters being placed on an inactive voting list and as per State requirements, after four years of inactivity you will be removed from the voting list. 

I would personally like to thank the 3,516 households that have already returned their census forms.  Our Registrars have completed their calls to the residents reminding them to return their census forms.  Thank you, Registrars Jennifer Moitoso, Helene Vitale and Kathy Conti, along with Lynn Shaker and Odete Lacourse for your exceptional work with the 2021 Census process. 

In closing, I would like to thank the voters of Rehoboth for 8 wonderful years serving as your Town Clerk.  I truly love my job and look forward to serving the Town of Rehoboth for many years to come.  Please remember to vote in the April 6th Annual Town Election.

During the month of April, Lynn, Odete and I hope you have a wonderful Patriot’s Day, have a most enjoyable Earth Day, and Arbor Day.  Thank you all for taking the time to read my monthly updates and thank you also, Rehoboth Reporter, for faithfully publishing my article every month.  We wish you all a most enjoyable April.  As another friendly reminder, taxes are due Monday, May 3rd, annual Excise Taxes were due April 1, 2021, yearly dog licenses were due April 1, 2021, and Annual Census forms were due January 31, 2021.  I look forward to chatting with you again in May and hopefully seeing you at our Annual Town Meeting on Tuesday, May 11th.  We hope you all enjoy the beautiful spring weather.

Thank you,
Laura , Lynn & Odete

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