AYER -- The Ayer selectmen voted unanimously on Tuesday to shift the date of the annual town election from Monday, April 22, to Tuesday, April 30. With the move, the election will coincide with the statewide special primary election for U.S. Senate to fill the seat vacated by John Kerry.

The shift came at the recommendation of Town Clerk John Canney and is in keeping with a state law proposed by Secretary of State William Galvin to help municipalities save money by avoiding two separately conducted elections this spring.

Communities with elections scheduled either four weeks before or after the April 30 date are eligible to move their local election date to coordinate with the April 30 senate primary. There will be a separate state and local ballots.

As of Tuesday evening, 17 candidates had pulled nomination papers for townwide office. Of the 17, five candidates have returned their nomination signatures to the town clerk's office to secure a spot on the town ballot.

Tuesday night, former Ayer patrolman Mark Coulter returned his nomination papers, becoming the first of four candidates to return their nomination papers in the race for one selectmen seat. Incumbent Frank Maxant is among the field along with Jane Morriss and Jannice Livingston.

On Feb. 13, Selectman Gary Luca pulled papers to become a candidate for treasurer. Glen LaPierre also pulled papers for the post on Jan. 23. Both men ran against incumbent Treasurer Stephanie Gintner in 2010, though Luca withdrew from the race a few weeks before election day.

Asked Tuesday night if he'd look to simultaneously serve as a selectmen and treasurer if successful in April, Luca said he hadn't yet decided. Luca, a multiterm selectman, was last elected to the board in 2012.

Luca is Ayer's postmaster, working directly across the street from Ayer Town Hall. Luca said Tuesday that if he secured the treasurer's post, he would retire from the U.S. Postal Service.

The following offices will be on the ballot: assessor (three-year term), Board of Health (two one-year and a three-year term), commissioner of trust funds (three-year term), constable (three-year term), Housing Authority (five-year term), library trustee (three-year term), and moderator (three-year term).

There's also: park commissioner (three-year term), Planning Board (five-year term), Regional School Committee (three-year term), selectman (three-year term) and treasurer (three-year term).

Follow Mary Arata at twitter.com/maryearata.