A voter leaves the poll at the Elks Lodge in Old Town June 8, 2021. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / Penobscot Times

There are no candidates to fill two soon-to-be vacant City Council seats in Old Town, forcing the city to rely solely on write-in candidates to fill the vacancies this fall. But that’s not a surefire way to fill the seat, so the city could end up with a smaller council.

Neither Council President Kyle Smart nor Councilor Shirley Brissette filed to run for reelection to the seven-member board, and no one else turned in the necessary paperwork to run for their seats by the Sept. 2 deadline, City Clerk Laura Engstrom said.

Because of the lack of candidates, voters will write in names and the city will have to count all the votes by hand, Engstrom said.

Additionally, only one person is running for two Old Town vacancies on the Regional School Unit 34 board. Jim Dill, the chair of the board, is seeking reelection, Engstrom said. But that still leaves one more open spot on the board that will need to be filled using write-in candidates.

Dill also represents the area in the Maine Senate, but can’t run for reelection to that seat after serving four terms.

There’s no registration requirement for write-in candidates in Old Town.

On Election Day, city officials will tally the votes for all the write-in candidates, and the top two vote getters will be nominated to fill the positions, Engstrom said. But the process doesn’t end there.

City Clerk Laura Engstrom (left) helps poll workers find City Councilor  Linda McLeod’s (right) name on the list of registered voters at the poll in the Elks Lodge in Old Town June 8, 2021. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / Penobscot Times

“They have to accept the nomination, and then we have to get them to sign the nomination papers,” she said. “If they say no, then we would start going down the list to the next person, then the next.”

If no one accepts a nomination to the council, the body can proceed with only five members instead of the seven, as that still constitutes a quorum, Engstrom said. The council could also choose to have a special election in the future to fill the positions, she said.

Those who want to run for council or school board will have to campaign and promote themselves as write-in candidates until the Nov. 2 election, Engstrom said.

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Sawyer Loftus

Sawyer Loftus is a reporter covering Old Town, Orono and the surrounding areas. A recent graduate of the University of Vermont, Sawyer grew up in Vermont where he's worked for Vermont Public Radio, The...