Amherst Board of Registrars meeting Town Hall 2:45 pm
In a little less than a half-hour the Amherst Board of Registrars came to a vote on whether to accept a challenge filed by Vince O'Connor and Mary Wentworth to the legality of names appearing on the nomination papers of 1st time School Committee candidate Phoebe Hazzard, who set a town record for acquiring the 50 signatures needed for a town wide office.
The vote was unanimous: No. In fact there was an undertone of, now go away.
The challenge was filed 35 minutes after the "two working day" deadline imposed by state law. The complainants argued a "working day" for Amherst Town Hall is 8.5 hours but one of those days (Thursday) Town Hall is closed to the general public in the mornings, therefor they only had 1.5 working days to file their grievance.
Board member Susan Lowenstein was the most forthright of the three asking Mr. O'Connor somewhat sternly, "Why do you see criminality and fraud? I'm appalled this is happening!"
To which Mr. O'Connor responded, "I'm appalled the Town Clerk would accept bad signatures."
Another bystander pointed out, "Not a single person has come forward to say they didn't sign those papers. There's the letter of the law, and the spirit of the law. I don't see any violations of the spirit of the law."
O'Connor responded, "It encourages people to sit at home, call up their friends for permission and get signatures that way."
Town Clerk Sandra Burgess had wanted this distraction ended quickly, as the ballot for the March 31 election needs to be printed soon.