Signatures to petitions; certification; objections
Section 55. Each person who signs a petition for the placing of a question on the official ballot at a regular municipal election pursuant to the provisions of section fifty-four shall state thereon his name and his place of residence on January first preceding, giving the street and number, if any, or if he became an inhabitant of such city or town after said January first, the place where he first resided thereafter. Signatures to such petition need not all be on one paper, provided that all papers pertaining to any one office or position shall, when filed with the city or town clerk under the provisions of this section, be fastened together and filed as one instrument with the endorsement thereon of the names of three persons designated as filing the same.
All such papers pertaining to any one office or position shall be submitted to the registrars of voters of such city or town not later than five o’clock in the afternoon of the seventh day preceding the last day prior to the election when such petition may be filed under section fifty-four, for the purpose of their certifying on such petition the names of persons signing the same who are registered voters. The registrars of voters shall, within five days after such submission, ascertain by what number of registered voters such petition has been signed, shall make and certify a statement of their determination in detail, setting forth such number and whether or not such petition has been signed by the number of registered voters required under the provisions of section fifty-four, and shall attach such statement to such petition.
If such a petition, bearing the number of signatures of registered voters required by section fifty-four, as shown by the statement attached thereto of the registrars of voters, is filed with the city or town clerk seasonably for submission to the voters at the next regular municipal election as provided in said section, and the clerk finds that the same is in order, he shall, if said law and rules are not already applicable to the office or position named in the petition, cause the question or questions contained therein to be printed on the official ballot for such election.
Written objections to the validity or sufficiency of any petition which has been filed with the city or town clerk under the provisions of the preceding paragraph or of the signatures on such petition may be filed with the city or town clerk not later than forty-eight hours after the last day prior to said election when such petition may be filed under section fifty-four, and such objections shall be considered by the appropriate board referred to in sections seven of chapter fifty-five B. In the consideration of objections under this section such board shall have and exercise all the powers given to it by any provision of law relative to objections to nominations. The notice provided by said section seven shall be sent to the persons filing the petition and to each officer affected thereby. Said board shall make its decision within four days after the expiration of the time for filing such objections and forthwith give notice thereof to the city or town clerk.
The provisions of section sixteen of chapter fifty-three relative to the preservation of nomination papers shall apply to petitions filed with a city or town clerk under this section.