The Town Clerk's responsibilities include recording and preserving the Town’s vital and permanent records in accordance with the Commonwealth statutes, providing quality public service and accessibility to public records and ensuring compliance with state mandated licensing and filing.
The Town Clerk conducts the annual town census, prepares the street list of residents and school list. The clerk furnishes the jury list to the Office of Jury Commissioner.
The Town Clerk serves on the local Board of Registrars and is responsible for the below listed election functions/duties:
- Overseeing elections, preparing ballots, absentee balloting and voter registration.
- Recording all actions of at the annual and the special town meetings, special voting sessions before every election and town meeting.
- Employing sufficient poll workers for the orderly conduct of an election and the polls.
- Preparing and reporting official election records and results to the Secretary of State of the Commonwealth.
- Certifying nomination papers.
Free notary services are provided at Town Hall (for limited document types) as a courtesy to townspeople.
Residents seeking notary services should read the Notary Services Policy (approved by the Select Board August 14, 2023) and contact Town Hall to ensure a notary is available and the document you wish to have notarized is permitted.
In order to obtain a marriage license, both parties must appear together to fill out the Intention of Marriage at any Town Clerk's Office in Massachusetts.
The Marriage License is valid for 60 days. There is a three-day waiting period. (N.B. couples marrying on a Saturday must apply by Tuesday of the week of the ceremony to have a license issued on Friday before the wedding.) If you require a waiver of the 3 day waiting period, the couple may file a petition for Marriage without Delay at the Probate Court.
The fee in Ashfield is $25.
The Officiant is responsible or completing and signing the original license and returning it to the clerk of the town where the license was issued. The officiant may be a member of the clergy, justice of the peace, or a one-day solemnizer.
If the officiant is an out-of-state clergy member, the clergyperson must obtain a Certificate of Authorization from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth prior to the ceremony. This certificate is attached to the license and returned to the town clerk.
If you wish to have a relative or family friend solemnize the marriage, he/she can apply for a One-Day Designation to Solemnize a Marriage.
The Town Clerk serves as a Justice of the Peace for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
If you wish to use a Justice of the Peace for the solemnization of a marriage, please contact the town clerk at (413) 628-4441 x5. The fee is $100 to solemnize a marriage within Ashfield (home community) or $150 if the ceremony is performed in any other municipality in the commonwealth. These fees preclude additional charges for traveling, or for providing flowers, music, photographer, a location where the ceremony takes place, or an unofficial certificate of marriage.
Public Records Officer
- Administers the oath of office to all elected and appointed members of local committees and boards and ensures that all elected and appointed officials are informed of Conflict of Interest Law & Open Meeting Law requirements and training. All elected and appointed officials are sworn to the faithful performance of their duties by the Town Clerk.
- Posts meeting notices of all government bodies.
- Provides access to public records in compliance with State Public Records Law. See Public Records Access Guidelines for more information.
- Provides certified copies of vital records and assists in genealogical research for members of the public, and is responsible for maintenance, disposition, and preservation of municipal archival records and materials.
- Submits bylaws and zoning bylaw amendments to the Attorney General for approval.
Elections and Voting
For all information on elections, voting, voter registration and election results refer to Elections and Voting page.
State law requires all dogs in the Commonwealth over six months of age to be licensed annually. The deadline is March 31 of each calendar year. For more details on dog licenses follow this link.
Ashfield holds its Annual Town Meeting (ATM) on the first Saturday in May of each year where important issues and budgets are discussed and voted on. In addition to the ATM the town holds Special Town Meetings (STM) from time to time to address specific needs/issues that cannot wait until the ATM in May. Whether to hold a STM, when and what to address is decided on by the town’s Select Board.
For information on upcoming and past town meetings including results of votes taken and decisions made click here.
Town Meeting Videos
Registrar of Vital Statistics
Records and preserves original birth, marriage, and death records, and provides this information to the Commonwealth for the central vital registration system.
Per Massachusetts General Law, each municipality is required to confirm the identity of every person residing in Town at the beginning of each year. This information is gathered through the annual street list which is mailed to each household around January 1st. Information pertaining to children sixteen and younger is protected by law and held in confidence. The data gathered is used to create the annual street list, to assist public safety and emergency responders, to project future school enrollment, and to assist in calculating state and federal aid.
Anyone who does not receive a census form, or moves into town after January, should contact the Town Clerk’s Office at 413-628-4441 x 5, or click here to download a blank form.
The Federal Census is a decennial census and while the main function is to provide counts of people for Congressional apportionment, it is also used to measure the changing social and economic characteristics of the United States. The next Federal Census will be conducted in 2020. For more information regarding the Federal Census click here.
Failure to return the census could lead to the state losing a representative in Congress, as well as federal funding.
- Issues state licenses and permits including marriage licenses, county or local licenses, permits and certifications as mandated by statute or bylaw, includes burial permits, business certificates and dog licenses.
- Certification of any document or action recorded and filed in the Town Clerk's Office is the responsibility of the Town Clerk.