Zero. Nada. Zilch. One of the town’s eight precincts has no candidate's name on the ballot for its eight Town Meeting seats to be filled in today's town election.
That’s Precinct 6.
And five other precincts have more open seats than candidates' names on the ballot: Precincts 1, 2, 3, 5 and 8.
Seats on the Board of Selectmen, Board of Library Trustees and Municipal Light Board are contested. Incumbent candidates for School Committee and moderator are unchallenged.
Voters will be asked one question on the ballot: should Reading taxpayers pay just under $9.8 million to renovate and expand the town's public library?
Back to those Town Meeting seats. The number of names on the ballot for Town Meeting membership is “slowly going down,” Town Clerk Laura Gemme told Patch.
No name is listed on the ballot for an open seat on the Board of Assessors, either.
To fill those seats, voters can write in the name of a resident for town assessor and a name or names of residents to represent them in their precinct at Town Meeting, depending on the number of open seats.
On Wednesday, Gemme will notify the people who have been elected by write-in vote, she explained. They’re seated by the number of votes they receive, in descending order.
Following that order, if there’s a tie — more than one person with the same number of write-in votes and too few openings to seat them all, the Town Meeting members in that precinct break the tie, Gemme said. That happens on the first night of Town Meeting, in precinct meetings, she said.
Whoever receives the highest number of write-in votes will be seated on the Board of Assessors. That resident must get certain certification within a certain period of time, Gemme told Patch.
Some people elected by write-in vote don’t want the job.
A lot of time we don’t hear from them, Gemme said.
But unless they submit a letter of resignation to the town clerk’s office, “They’re members” of Town Meeting, she confirmed.
At the upcoming annual Town Meeting, which will start on April 22, one article asks whether Town Meeting will declare the seats of 22 members vacant because they either failed to take the oath of office within the 30-day deadline or failed to attend one-half or more Town Meeting sessions during the previous year.
Town Meeting voted in May, 2012, against reducing its size from 192 members – 24 from each of eight precincts – to 144, or 18 per precinct. The vote: 121 opposed, six in favor. At that same meeting, Town Meeting rejected a motion to increase the number of write-in signatures required to be elected to that body to more than one.
Just over 17,000 Reading residents are registered voters, according to Gemme.
She’s predicting that 14 percent of them will cast ballots Tuesday between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. at the RMHS Field House. Even with that rate of voter turnout, some people always rush in as the clock ticks down to 8 p.m., she noted.
The candidates for Town Meeting whose names appear on the local election ballot follow, by precinct, along with the total number of on-ballot candidates in each precinct. Incumbents are listed first, alphabetically, followed by non-incumbents.
Precinct 1 -- 3
William Grace, Steven Perry and Janet Triglione, all incumbents.
Precinct 2 --3
Howard Cohen and Denise Iozzo, incumbents and Denise Benard.
Precinct 3 -- 4
Jane Fiore, incumbent and Rachelle Garcia, John Russell and Margaret Russell.
Precinct 4 - 11
Barry Berman, Richard Coco, Robert Connors, Glen Hartzler, Arthur Hayden, James Maughan, John O’Neil and Karen Richard, all incumbents and Charlene Bazarian, Amy Maccalous Hennessy and Demetra Tseckares.
Precinct 5 -- 7
Donnan Barnes, Robert Ferrari, Bo Garrison, Laurence Hayes, Jr., Daniel Knowles and Philip Rushworth, all incumbents and Kevin Walsh.
Precinct 6 -- 0
Precinct 7 -- 8
Brandon Chapman, Mark Foodman, John Lippitt, Gary Phillips, Jeffrey Struble and Bryan Walsh, all incumbents and Marcel DuBois and Denise Wyer.
Precinct 8 -- 5
L. Scott Davarich, Olive Hecht, Wiliam Hecht Sr., Stephen Herrick and Kevin Sexton, all incumbents.
Be sure to vote today at the RMHS Field House between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.