SECTION 1. (a) The Berlin-Boylston regional school district committee election described in subsection (C) of section I of the Berlin-Boylston regional school district agreement shall be held at the annual town elections in spring 2021 to be held at the town of Boylston’s and Berlin’s usual election locations using the process described in this section. All subsequent Berlin-Boylston regional school district committee elections shall be held in accordance with subsection (C) of section I of the Berlin-Boylston regional school district agreement.
(b) Notwithstanding sections 14B and 14E of chapter 71 of the General Laws, the Berlin-Boylston regional school district agreement or any other general or special law to the contrary, the voters of the district shall elect 6 school committee members on the ballot at the town of Berlin and Boylston annual town elections to be held in spring 2021. The terms of 1 member from the town of Boylston and 2 members from the town of Berlin shall expire at the 2022 biennial state election and the terms of 2 members from the town of Boylston and 1 member from the town of Berlin shall expire at the 2024 biennial state election, in each instance after the election and qualification of their respective successors. Thereafter, all members shall be elected for 4-year terms in accordance with the Berlin-Boylston regional school district agreement.
(c) The town clerks of Berlin and Boylston shall establish and post an election schedule at the regional school district high school and at the office of each town clerk with notification to the regional school district. Nomination papers shall be issued by the town clerks to registered voters in their respective towns who request nomination papers for the 2021 election of regional school committee members at any time after February 1, 2021 and not later than 64 days prior to the date of the annual town elections. Notwithstanding sections 10 or 122 of chapter 53 of the General Laws, nomination papers shall be submitted for certification to the registrars of voters and town clerk in which the signatories reside not later than 5:00 p.m. on the forty-ninth day prior to the election. The signature of a registered voter from a town other than the town of Berlin or Boylston, even if within the Berlin-Boylston regional school district, shall be rejected. A total combined minimum of 25 signatures of registered voters in the town of Berlin and Boylston shall be certified by the town clerks to place a candidate’s name on the annual town election ballots. All 6 positions shall appear on the annual town election ballot in each town with such instructions as will aid the voter.
(d) Immediately following 5:00 p.m. on the last day for filing nomination papers for other offices with the town clerks, in accordance with section 10 of chapter 53 of the General Laws, the clerks of each town shall certify to the regional school district and each other the names of persons from each town to be printed on the annual town election ballot; provided, however, that the ballots shall not be printed until the period for withdrawals or challenges has passed pursuant to sections 11 and 13 of chapter 53 of the General Laws. Objections to nomination papers shall be filed with the town clerks. If the date of the annual town elections requires postponement due to a public health or safety emergency, the elections shall be postponed to a date agreed upon by the boards of selectmen in both the town of Berlin and Boylston no earlier than 20 days after the new date is announced; provided, that all nomination papers, ballots and other materials prepared for the date set forth in this section or submitted to the town clerks consistent with this section, shall be utilized at the rescheduled election.
(e) Notwithstanding section 10 of chapter 39 of the General Laws, any other general or special law or bylaw of the town of Berlin or Boylston to the contrary, the polls for the town of Berlin and Boylston annual elections shall be open for no less than 4 hours, in accordance with section 64 of chapter 54 of the General Laws. The certified election results from each town shall be forwarded to the regional school district as soon as possible, but not later than the day following the election at 10:00 a.m. The regional
school district shall declare the names of those elected. Upon the expiration of 10 days from the date of the election, the members may be sworn into their offices by the town clerk or moderator of the town in which they reside, who shall report the same in writing to the regional school district. Upon the election and swearing of their successors, the terms of the members of the Berlin-Boylston regional school district transition committee shall terminate and the transition committee shall be abolished.
(f) In the event a recount is desired, a petition signed by no fewer than 10 registered voters in each precinct in which a recount is desired shall be filed with the town clerk no later than 10 days following the date of the election. The signatures of any voter from another precinct or town shall be rejected. Under such circumstances, the town clerk shall forward the petition to the regional school district and the new members shall not be sworn into their offices. Following consultation with the regional school district, each town shall schedule a recount to be held no later than 14 days after the certification of the recount petition. The recount shall be presided over by the board of registrars of the town of Berlin or Boylston, as applicable.
(g) The incumbent members of the Berlin-Boylston regional school district transition committee shall maintain their offices until their successors elected pursuant to this section are sworn into office.
(h) In the event of any vacancy prior to the election described in this section, the vacancies shall be filled in accordance with subsection (D) of section I of the Berlin-Boylston regional school district agreement.
(i) Except as otherwise provided in this section and in the regional school district laws, all applicable provisions of state election law shall apply to the election of members of the regional school district school committee.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
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