If you’ve not already registered to vote – although I suspect most reading this are already registered – today is the deadline if you want to participate in this year’s primary election which will be held on Thursday, September 6, 2012.
That’s right – the primary is on a Thursday this year. The reason it’s not on the Tuesday of that week (September 4) is that the day before is Labor Day and municipalities would have to pay considerable overtime for employees to come in that day to prepare for the next day’s election. The election was not slid to the following week’s Tuesday or thereafter because of some combination of religious holidays and the need to finalize the November election ballot in sufficient time to mail ballots to service members and citizens overseas.
As for contested races on the ballot on September 6, there aren’t that many. If you vote Democratic and you live in Lowell, I believe the only contested race you will see is for Governor’s Council. We’re in a new district this year, the 5th, which unites us with the north shore. The candidates are Donald Bumiller of Boxford, Eileen Duff of Gloucester, David Eppley of Salem, and George O’Brine of Salem. Both Duff and Eppley have spent considerable time campaigning up this way but it’s a very big district so there’s no telling what will happen. If you cross the line into Chelmsford, there’s also a contested Governor’s Council race on the ballot there only in another district, the 3rd. Incumbent Marilyn Devaney of Watertown (who previously represented Lowell), is being challenged by Harry Margolis of Brookline and Charles Shapiro of Newton.
Chelmsford will be the scene of one of the most hotly contested Democratic contests in the region and that’s for the nomination for the Third Middlesex Senate District, previously held by Susan Fargo. The candidates are Michael Barrett of Lexington, Alex Buck of Chelmsford, Mara Dolan of Concord, Joe Goodwin of Concord and Joe Mullin of Weston.
Those taking Republican ballots on September 6 might have more contested races. Jon Golnik of Carlisle and Tom Weaver of Westford are competing for the chance to face Niki Tsongas in November in the new 3rd Congressional District. In that state senate district that includes Chelmsford, Sandi Martinez of Chelmsford and Gregory Howes of Concord both seek the Republican nomination and in the 2nd Essex and Middlesex (which includes Dracut, Tewksbury, Lawrence and Andover), the winner of the Paul Adams v. Alex Vispoli (both of Andover) contest will face Barry Finegold in November. Another contested Republican race is for the 36th Middlesex state representative district (Dracut and Tyngsborough) in which Cathy Richardson and George Boag seek the opportunity to face Colleen Garry in November.
Even if there aren’t that many contested races on the ballot on September 6, it’s important to show up at the polls and have your vote recorded. It’s part of the democratic process but it also has a very practical purpose. Voting participation records are readily available to candidates, office holders and many others. It’s easy to check how often a person voted and in the future, no one cares whether or not there were any hotly contested races on the ballot in a particular year, they only care whether you voted or not. So be sure to take a couple of minutes that day and make an appearance at your neighborhood polling location.