BUCKFIELD — Selectman Maida DeMers-Dobson agreed Tuesday to resign as a ballot clerk for Thursday’s election, after a resident requested she do so to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

Resident Vivian Wadas raised the issue at Tuesday’s selectmen meeting, saying the town handbook and Maine Municipal Association do not allow selectmen to serve as ballot clerks.

At the March 12 board meeting, selectmen appointed seven Democratic ballot clerks — including DeMers-Dobson — for Thursday’s special election for the vacant selectman and assessor position.

The election is to fill the seat of Scott Violette who resigned in January.

Former Selectman Warren Wright is running unopposed.

“As a concerned citizen, I am formally requesting … to correct the problem prior to the upcoming special election on this Thursday, March 24,” Wadas said.

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Town Manager Cindy Dunn checked information on the issue, saying, “It is not in statute. It’s under common law.” 

She presented a scenario of DeMers-Dobson being a ballot clerk at Thursday’s election, and a candidate received 25 votes and Dunn, a write-in candidate, received 24 votes. Dunn wants to request a recount.

“Since a selectman worked the polls that day, I could not have her come in and do the recount,” Dunn said of DeMers-Dobson in the scenario. “I would have to call another ballot clerk. Personally, I don’t understand the ballot clerk thing because there is no appeals process to the elections. But common law is common law.”

“I don’t have a problem not being a ballot clerk,” DeMers-Dobson said. “I think, historically, the issue is it’s hard sometimes to find people to staff that.”

“It’s beyond hard,” Dunn said.

“I will gladly not do that if that creates a cleaner situation and one that provides more comfort to our citizens,” DeMers-Dobson said.

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Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Cheryl Coffman asked Wadas why the issue was not brought to the Town Office during the week so selectmen could review it and place it on the agenda.

Wadas said she was late in requesting a DVD from the March 12 meeting and only finished her research Tuesday.

Dunn informed DeMers-Dobson that she would have to write a letter of resignation, which she agreed to do. No vote was taken on the matter.

Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 24, at the Town Office, 34 Turner St.

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