The challenge to bring voters to the polls in town elections appears seemingly rivaled by the same effort to get candidates on the ballot.

The town election in Warren is May 7 and 408 mail-in ballots are headed to some of the registered voters in the community. In this, a presidential election year with a presidential primary, Massachusetts sent out postcards giving voters the option to choose “All Elections This Year” in regard to mail in ballots.

As a result, the Warren town clerk’s office readied the more than 400 mailed ballots to include the May election. In a standard election year not impacted by the race for the White House, the number of mailed ballots including absentee voters’ numbers between 25-30.

And, with only one contested race in the field, Town Clerk Laurie Stockley said incumbents and vacant positions make up the balance of this year’s ballot.

“Turnout is going to be a tough one because of the mail-in ballots, the state sends out postcards for their elections,” Stockley said, noting there are currently 3,933 registered voters in town.

Only the race for the Board of Health is fielding two candidates for one seat with Joseph A. Kondrat Jr. facing James A. McKeon. In the Quaboag Regional District School Committee, Jason G. Morgan from Warren is running unopposed for reelection as are West Brookfield members Gregory S. Morse and Garrett M. Piermarini.

All other town offices are fielded only by incumbents running unopposed including Richard J. Eichacker, looking to retain his selectman seat. Positions for sssessor, Planning Board and the five-year slot for Housing Authority are all running vacant with the potential for write-in candidates.

“That alone will affect the turnout numbers at least on paper,” she said.

Stockley added that she is not even sure how many mail-in ballots will be returned with the lack of a contested selectman race which she said typically brings voters to the polls and this year marks the first time the state issued postcards are affecting the May balloting.

“It’s the selectman race that usually generates the bigger numbers, the last three years we’ve had less than 400 people [total number of people voting],” She said. “So, it will be interesting to see how many people actually walk through the doors on May 7, I’m not really sure what to expect.”

In Hardwick, looking ahead to their May 4 election, the overview from Town Clerk Ryan Witkos was straightforward.

“We don’t have any contested races.” He said.

Witkos said it’s either a case of not many people wanting to get involved or voters being happy with who’s there [in office].”

“This is, I think, the second or third time in my four years there’s no races,” He said. “Our polls are only going to be open for four hours.”

Of the eight races on the ballot, five of the races are fielded by incumbent candidates running unopposed and a write-in candidate will likely fill the vacancy on the Quabbin Regional School Committee.

Witkos said it’s difficult to determine why candidate interest is what it is and how that translates to voter turnout.

“Personally, I think everybody’s time is limited with families having to work two jobs just to support themselves, “he said. “And these roles do demand a lot of time outside of normal working hours and they do require a commitment in order to do the job properly.”

He also said contested races and issues tend to bring out more of the town’s 2,000 register voter population.

“I’ll be surprised if we break 100 [voters].”

bzito@thereminder.com | + posts