The Soapbox: What is a Selectman, anyway?

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Stand up. Speak up. It’s your turn.

While talking with friends and family about putting my name on the ballot as a selectman for Ward 4 in Manchester, I came to realize that many people don’t know what a Manchester selectman does. Unlike some other New Hampshire cities and towns, a Manchester selectman is not a policy maker akin to our Board of Aldermen. They are the people who ensure that voting laws and policies are followed to enable every voter the opportunity to feel their votes are securely cast and that they are counted.

I thought it would be beneficial to put together a short description of the required duties that a Selectman promises to uphold.

There are three elected Selectmen for each Ward. (Keep that in mind when you are casting your votes). Selectmen report directly to the Ward Moderator, who is also an elected official. The office of Selectmen is a non-partisan office, which means that they do not campaign or hold office as a member of any party.

Selectmen are responsible for:

  • Maintaining the checklist of registered voters in their ward.
  • Choosing the polling place.
  • Ensuring that the polls are open and functioning properly.
  • Assisting voters in the election process. Sometimes voters need help understanding how to go through the process of voting. Sometimes people will need certain accommodations such as using the One4All accessible voting machine or having someone read them the ballot.
  • Maintaining orderly flow of voters through the polling place.
  • Properly counting the election results (including tallies and absentee counting) and providing the Ward Clerk with the results.
  • Sign off on election reports.
  • Making appointments of ballot inspectors if the two major parties fail to appoint within the required timeframe.

As someone who has worked at the polls as a ballot inspector, I know how important and intensive the job of Selectman, Clerk and Moderator are. Manchester has a history of holding safe and fair elections. I believe that I can continue to ensure that Ward 4 voters can feel confident that their vote matters.

Local offices such as this are the most important offices that you will vote for. They are the positions that will affect your daily life. Find out who is running for Selectman, Clerk, and Moderator in your ward and be sure to cast your votes.

The Manchester Primaries are on September 19, 2023. The General election will be held on November 7, 2023
You can find out where to vote at Where do I Vote?

Vanessa Blais is a proud Trustee of the Manchester City Library, a member of the Manchester Housing Alliance, and hopes to serve as selectman for her Ward 4 neighbors.

About this Author

Vanessa Blais

Project ManagerNH Council on Developmental Disabilities