Boston Region MPO - Election Process

Home » About Us » Boston Region MPO

Each fall, four of the 12 elected municipal members of the Boston Region MPO are chosen by the chief elected officials of the municipalities in the region to serve a three-year term. The chief elected official (or his or her official designee) shall represent the elected municipality throughout the municipality’s three-year term of office and shall be responsible for executing a variety of responsibilities  (pdf) (html). As specified in the MPO’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (pdf) (html), the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Advisory Board jointly administer the election. Elections are held at MAPC’s Fall Council Meeting. Election procedures (pdf) (html) are detailed in the linked document and summarized below.

Nomination Process

Nominees for the elected municipal seats shall be the chief elected official of the municipality that will hold the seat. In cities, the chief elected official is the mayor or, if the city does not have the office of mayor, the chairman of the council, except for cities operating under the Plan-E Charter (only Cambridge at this time), in which case it shall be the city manager. In towns, the chief elected official is the chairman of the board of selectmen.

Nominations may be placed by any chief elected official from any of the 97 municipalities in the Boston region (pdf map) (html list). In the case of boards of selectmen, the MPO will accept the chairman’s nomination of a candidate whether or not the full board of selectmen has voted to approve the nomination.

A candidate must receive nominations from at least five chief elected officials in the Boston region. A chief elected official may nominate his or her own municipality (to be represented on the MPO board by himself or herself), and that nomination shall count as one of the five nominations needed to place that municipality on the ballot. Each chief elected official may sign nomination papers for one municipality per open seat.

Nomination papers (pdf) (html) are submitted with a statement of candidacy (pdf) (html).

Election Process

MAPC and the MBTA Advisory Board send a letter to each chief elected official in the region stating the date, location, and rules of voting. An absentee ballot and instructions about how municipalities may cast votes is also included. Prior to the election, MAPC and the MBTA Advisory Board will provide an opportunity for the electorate to meet representatives of candidate municipalities during a forum at the State Transportation Building.


Each chief elected official in the region may vote for one candidate municipality for each open seat.

On the day of the election, the designated officers of MAPC and the MBTA Advisory Board supervise the election as outlined in the MPO’s MOU. Ballots are cast by municipal chief elected officials or their designees. If a ballot is to be cast by a designee, that person must present a letter signed by the chief elected official to the designated officers of MAPC and the MBTA Advisory Board no later than 30 minutes prior to the start of the election; this letter appoints the designee and confirms his or her authority to cast the municipality’s ballot. Such a designation is delivered in person or by mail. Designees may represent only one municipality in the election. The chief elected official may require the designee to vote for a specific individual or vest discretion in the designee.

If the chief elected official is unable to attend the election and does not designate another individual to attend, an absentee ballot may be filed. Absentee ballots are valid for any election (for example, a run-off election in case of a tie) held on the day of the MPO election for which the candidates selected on the ballot are still eligible to receive votes.

No faxed or emailed absentee ballots will be accepted; they must be filed in person or by mail by 5:00 PM on the day before the election with MAPC:

Metropolitan Area Planning Council
60 Temple Place
Boston, MA 02111
Attention: MPO Elections

The designated officers of MAPC and the MBTA Advisory Board certify the results of the election to the chairman of the MPO by 12:00 noon on the Friday following the election.