Orleans Election Is Tuesday. Here’s What You Need To Know

By: Ryan Bray

Topics: Elections

Voters queue up to cast ballots in Orleans. FILE PHOTO

ORLEANS – On Tuesday, voters will head to the polls for this year’s annual town election. Polls will be open for in-person voting from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the senior center on Rock Harbor Road.

The last day of early voting is tomorrow, May 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the town clerk’s office in town hall. Town Clerk Kelly Darling told the select board May 3 that approximately 1,700 residents requested mail-in ballots for Tuesday’s election.

How many contested races?
There is only one contested race in next week’s election. Three candidates are seeking two seats on the board of health, with incumbent members Sims McGrath and John Kanaga seeking re-election against challenger Robert Gwin.

How many ballot questions?
There will be 27 questions on Tuesday’s ballot. While that’s a large number, many of the questions have already been voted on in some capacity. Questions 12 through 27 pertain to proposed charter changes that were already approved at last year’s spring and fall town meetings.

The ballot also includes eight questions asking voters to support debt exclusions totaling $11.2 million. Voters were scheduled to vote on whether or not to authorize that spending at the May 8 annual town meeting.

Two questions seek overrides to cover the town’s share of the Nauset Regional School District budget ($211,827) and the Cape Cod Regional Technical High School budget ($49,484) for the 2024 fiscal year. Voters will also be asked to fund an additional $225,000 to support the affordable housing trust fund for the new fiscal year. Funding for all three of these questions would come from additional real estate and personal property tax assessments.

What’s the difference between a debt exclusion and an override?
An override of Proposition 2½ represents a permanent addition to the town’s tax levy. With a debt exclusion, the increase is temporary and goes away after the debt is paid off.

Will the dollar amounts of each debt exclusion and override be listed in each question?
Interim Town Administrator Charles Sumner said the Massachusetts Department of Revenue requires that override questions include the dollar amount. However, debt exclusions will not, because they only represent temporary increases to the tax levy.