Election 2021 was the topic for most people at Comstock Community Center on Wednesday night, July 21, as both the Wilton Republican Town Committee and Democratic Town Committee were holding their Municipal Election Conventions there — just on opposite sides of the building from each other.

Both parties were meeting to nominate their slates of candidates that they plan on running for the open seats on Wilton’s elected municipal board and commissions.

The Republicans choose their candidates through a party member-only vote — only elected members of the RTC could nominate and vote on the candidates who have thrown their hats in the ring to be considered. Nominees are chosen by the nominating committee, and much preparation and politicking usually go on behind the scenes before the Convention even meets.

The same is true for the DTC Nominating Convention, although this year is a very different year than in the past. Typically, Democrats hold a caucus:  the elected members of the DTC nominate and discuss the candidates — with the same kind of pre-meeting prep and jockeying as their GOP counterparts — but then anyone who is a registered Democrat in Wilton typically can vote for the slate.

However, much earlier this year, when they hit the deadline set by the CT Secretary of State for setting a convention format, Democratic party officials at the state level were afraid that there might still be COVID-related limits on group gathering. So they decided that for 2021, all municipal and local Democratic organizations in the state would only allow elected members to vote on the slate (and also only consider a state-wide platform over a local one).

Below are a list of the seats that will be up for election in November; the parties can nominate up to that number of open seats. Impacting the number of people that can be nominated from one party are two main factors — if volunteers step forward and how many other members of the party currently serve on a particular board or commission. That’s because there are State laws mandating minority party representation on municipal boards and commissions, to make sure that there are members from both political parties on each.

Board of Selectmen:  2

Board of Finance (Full Term):  3

Board of Finance — to fill a 2-year vacancy:  1

Board of Education:  3

Board of Assessment Appeals:  1

Planning and Zoning Commission:  5

Zoning Board of Appeals:  2

Zoning Board of Appeals (Alternates):  2

Constables:  5 (each party can nominate up to 3 candidates)

It’s important to remember something about the people who do step forward to run and serve on these boards and commissions:  they are all volunteers. All the positions require significant time contributions and are unpaid (except for the first selectman/woman).

As WRTC member Bill Lalor reminded his fellow Republicans Wednesday night, “You don’t do this for the high praise and glory. It’s hard work. … We’re a small community. The town relies, more so than most people understand, on volunteers. We have a lot of new faces in Wilton, a lot of new people and people from outside the state. They don’t necessarily know how much work the volunteers do for this town,” he said, adding, “I’m grateful for your service.”

GOOD Morning Wilton will be your source for all you need to know about Election 2021 in the coming months. Below is our Election 2021 Editorial and Advertising Policies guide, with policies we’ve set for the campaigns as well as for participation by the public. Readers can always reach out via email with questions.