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Lexington Preps for Special Election Possibilities

The domino effect following former US Sen. John Kerry’s appointment as Secretary of State conceivably could trickle all the way down to the local level, according to Town Clerk Donna Hooper.

Lexington’s annual Town Elections are less than three weeks away, but planning for the polls won’t stop there.

No, Town Clerk Donna Hooper and her team will be preparing for at least one special election (plus primary) as Massachusetts looks to replace longtime .

“These specials do pop up, and we saw this one coming to some degree,” said Hooper. “However, they clearly do throw us a curveball.”

First up will be the town election, scheduled for Monday, March 4. With only on contested race for an elected seat—on the Planning Board—Hooper says there has not been a lot of interested the local election – yet. But that could change following after tonight, what with the League of Women Voters Candidates Night scheduled for 7 p.m. at Lexington High.

Meanwhile, , a June 25 special election date was set and the field of prospective full-time Kerry successors has begun to take shape.

The June 25 special election will be preceded by an April 30 primary.

According to Hooper, the special election enacting legislation provided for cities and towns to combine municipal elections with the primary or general if they normally fall within 30 days of those dates. Lexington’s doesn’t, and therefore will not be combined with either, Hooper said.

Elections typically cost the town about $25,000, according to Hooper, and “at least two additional unscheduled, unbudgeted elections” would be an additional expense – albeit one for which the town could potentially, eventually, receive state reimbursement.

Where Hooper’s “at least” comes in gets to dealing with results.

For example, if , prevails in June, it’s possible Lexington would be looking at an autumn special election to replace its congressman. And, depending on how that special panned out, it’s possible some communities could be forced to elect a new state Rep or state Senator.

“It could be a domino effect,” Hooper said. “It’s difficult to make plans for all kinds of things during the year.”

If special elections start stacking up, costs may not be the only concern for municipalities.

Lexington, for example, has polling places at several schools around town, and a few of them will be under construction over the next year. Election workers, in some cases, could be an issue as well.

“We have a great group of election workers,” said Hooper, noting the town has added a lot of workers over the past few years, so there is some flexibility with the roster. “But it can be a long day, and sometimes if you go to the well too many times, people may not be available.”

The deadline to register to vote in the special primary and general elections is 20 days before each.

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