On April 10, Edgartown moderator Philip J. Norton Jr. will hold the gavel for the last time at the annual town meeting, 43 years to the day after he was first elected.

For the first time since 1975, Mr. Norton will not be listed under moderator when Edgartown goes to the polls in April for the town election. Sean E. Murphy, an Edgartown attorney, is running unopposed in his place.

Reached by phone at his law office this week, Mr. Norton said old age prompted him to step down from the podium where he has long presided with a deft hand and quick wit.

“It was something to do, and I enjoyed it, so I have no problem,” he said.

Around town and elsewhere, officials and residents said town meetings wouldn’t be the same without Mr. Norton, who is known for keeping business moving along with a sense of humor and witty one-liners.

“That’s what they always say,” Mr. Norton said about reaction to his retirement. “But I don’t know.”

A man of few words runs a tight town meeting, after all.

Mr. Norton’s retirement and a smattering of contested races top town election ballots this year as the political season gets underway. The deadline for filing nomination papers has passed for five towns. The filing deadline for the Aquinnah town election is April 4.

Town elections take place Thursday, April 12 in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and West Tisbury; Tuesday, April 24 in Tisbury, and on Wednesday, April 25 in Chilmark.

Following a recent trend on the Vineyard, there are few contests for town office. All three down-Island towns will see at least one contested race, including selectmen races in Oak Bluffs and Edgartown.

In Edgartown selectman Arthur Smadbeck is running for his ninth term on the board. He will face a challenge from resident Gail Gardner, who has recently criticized the board over the process for appointing a new police chief.

Two people are in the running for one seat on the planning board. Scott Morgan and Robert Strayton are both running for the seat held by Robert (Coo) Cavallo, who died in January. Mr. Cavallo was up for re-election this year. Mr. Morgan was appointed to serve as an alterate to the board in January; Mr. Strayton has been a critic of the plan to install a permanent cell tower on Chappaquiddick.

Four people are running for three spots on the Edgartown financial advisory committee. Incumbents Paulo DeOliveira, Robert E. Coad and Morton Fearey Jr. are on the ballot, along with Jane R. Chittick.

James. E. Kelleher is running for re-election as water commission, facing a challenge from Fred R. Domont.

In Oak Bluffs Kathy Burton will not seek re-election after three terms on the board of selectmen. There are three candidates for two seats on the board. Incumbent selectman Gregory A. Coogan is running for his sixth term. Jason M. Balboni, chairman of the finance and advisory committee, and Richard G. Michelson, vice chairman of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission, are also in the running.

There are two other contested races in Oak Bluffs. Josephine (Jojo) M. Lambert and Abraham L. Seiman are both running for a two-year seat on the planning board.

Two people running for one seat on the cemetery commission. Jesse (Jack) Law 3rd is running for re-election, facing a challenge from Catherine Elizabeth Buck.

In Tisbury, selectman Larry Gomez is not seeking re-election after serving one term. The lone candidate running to replace him is James J. Rogers, an electrician who recently retired from years of service on the town fire department.

In the only contested race in Tisbury, four candidates are running for three three-year terms on the finance and advisory committee. Paul J. Cefola, Nancy B. Gilfoy, and Thomas Lawrence Keller are all running for re-election and Laura A. Rose is running for her first term on the committee.

Up-Island towns can expect to see a much quieter election season, with no contested races in Chilmark and West Tisbury. In West Tisbury selectman Jeffrey (Skipper) Manter is running unopposed for his sixth term.

In Chilmark selectman William N. Rossi is running for his third term on the board with no opponents. There are no other contested races on the ballot, and several offices are lacking candidates, including three-year seats on the finance and cemetery commission.

This article has been updated to reflect planning board races in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs.