Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
SECTION 1. Chapter 10 of the acts of 1936 is hereby amended by striking out section 4, as amended by chapter 1088 of the acts of 1973, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 4. Nomination of candidates for town meeting members to be elected under this act shall be made by nomination papers which shall bear no political designation, but to the name of a candidate for re-election may be added the words "Candidate for Re-election". Nomination papers shall be signed by at least one registered voter of the precinct in which the candidate resides, and shall be filed with the town clerk at least 49 days before the election. No nomination paper shall be valid in respect to any candidate whose written acceptance is not thereon or attached thereto when filed.
SECTION 2. Said chapter 10 is hereby further amended by striking out section 7 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 7. In the event of any vacancy in the full number of elected town meeting members from any precinct, the town clerk shall, not less than 30 days prior to the first special town meeting after October 1, but before December 31, mail written notice of such vacancy to the remaining elected members of the precinct and shall publish said notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the town. Nomination papers to fill any vacant seat may be filed by any registered voter of the precinct with the town clerk until the eighth day following the date of publication. The town clerk shall within seven days thereafter certify the qualified candidates, mailing to the remaining town meeting members in the precinct a copy of such certification together with a written ballot identifying the qualified candidates and the number of vacancies to be filled.
The remaining town meeting members of the precinct shall, on or before the seventh day following said mailing, cause their ballots to be delivered to the town clerk in a sealed envelope.
On the first business day following said seventh day the town clerk shall open the envelopes at a duly noticed public meeting and shall certify the election of those with the largest number of votes, ties to be resolved by lot. In the event of any vacancy in the full number of elected town meeting members from any precinct which cannot be filled by means of the above mentioned procedure, the remaining elected members of the precinct may choose a successor from among the registered voters thereof. Upon petition therefor, signed by not less than ten town meeting members from the precinct, or if the entire number of town meeting members from said precinct is less than 18, by a majority thereof, notice of any vacancy shall be made promptly to the remaining members from the precinct wherein the vacancy or vacancies exist by the town clerk, who shall call a special meeting of such members for the purpose of filling any vacancy.
The town clerk shall cause to be mailed to every such member, not less than five days before the time set for the meeting, a notice specifying the object, time and place of the meeting. At the said meeting, a majority of the members from such precinct shall constitute a quorum, and they shall elect from their own number a chairperson and a clerk. The election to fill such vacancy shall be by ballot and a majority of the votes cast shall be required for a choice. The chairperson and clerk shall count the ballots and shall make a certificate of such election and forthwith file the same with the town clerk, together with a written acceptance by the member or members so elected, who shall be deemed elected and qualified as a town meeting member or members, subject to the right of all town meeting members to judge of the election and qualifications of the members as set forth in section 3. Town meeting members elected pursuant to this section shall serve until the next annual town election.