Making Democracy Work

Elections

2016 Election Information -- including Hingham Journal 'Well Informed Voter' Articles

National and State Election - Tuesday, November 8th

Hingham voters will have the opportunity to select from among the candidates seeking offices for national, state, and county positions as well as positions on state ballot questions.

Want to know what will be on your ballot for November 8? Want to compare the positions of candidates in contested races? Check out the LWVMA primary Voters' Guide at http://www.VOTE411.org. Just enter your address and receive a personalized ballot, plus access to lots of info about voting in MA!

All candidates have been invited to answer questions developed by a group of local League volunteers to help the voter better educate themselves before the primary.

Early Voting Takes Effect for the General Election

The early voting period starts - October 24th - 11 business days preceding the November 8 general election. See HJ Journal Sept 29th Article below for more details.

See you at the polls on November 8th!

Register to Vote

Wednesday, October 19, 2016 -- Last day to register to vote for the Presidential/State Election taking place on November 8th.

For information on how to register to vote , and where to vote, please visit the Hingham Town Clerk's web page at http://www.hingham-ma.gov/townclerk/vote.html

Teens Can Now Pre-register to Vote

The teen pre-registration law passed in 2014 went into effect August 1. People 16 and 17 years old can now submit a voter registration form to their local election official, who will place their name on the list of pre-registrants. They will receive a pre-registration notice by mail, confirming receipt of the application. Pre-registration may be done online, by mail, or in person at any voter registration location. When the person turns 18, the local election official will send confirmation that the person has been moved from the list of pre-registrants to the list of registered voters.

For election information from the State of Massachusetts, please visit http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/eleifv/howreg.htm.

Hingham Journal - Well Informed Voter - October 27, 2016

Preparing to Vote on Ballot Question 3

--By Eileen McIntyre, LWV Hingham

The "Well Informed Voter" series is designed to familiarize voters with our busy ballot this election Voters in Massachusetts have an important responsibility this year, potentially making new law, based on our binding decisions on 4 ballot questions. While the issues underlying each question are somewhat complex, a modest amount of preparation can help you to arrive at an informed decision.

Ballot Question 3 has received less attention than some other questions.

Question 3 concerns conditions for farm animals

The following description is based on the summary provided by the Massachusetts Secretary of State:

This proposed law would prohibit any farm owner or operator from knowingly confining any breeding pig, calf raised for veal, or egg-laying hen in a way that prevents the animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending its limbs, or turning around freely. The proposed law also would prohibit any business owner or operator in Massachusetts from selling whole eggs intended for human consumption, or any uncooked cut of veal or pork, if the business owner or operator knows, or should know, that the hen, breeding pig, or veal calf that produced these products was confined in a manner prohibited by the proposed law.

There are certain exemptions. For example, the proposed law would not apply to sales of food products that combine veal or pork with other products, in processed or prepared food items. Proposed confinement prohibitions also would not apply during transportation; state and county fair exhibitions; medical research; veterinary exams, and several other specified situations.

The proposed law would create a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation and would give the Attorney General the exclusive authority to enforce the law, and to issue regulations to implement it.

If approved by the voters, this law would take effect on January 1, 2022

Resources available to help you assess this proposed legislation:

If you are planning to take advantage of Early Voting (available since October 24th at Hingham Town Hall) you may want to do some homework now on this and the other ballot questions. If you plan to vote on Election Day, November 8th, set aside some time in the next couple of weeks so that you are prepared to make a thoughtful decision on the ballot questions. Here are some just-in-time references:

  • The Secretary of State's office has included 150 word statements from those supporting and opposing Question 3 (as well as the other ballot questions) in the red "Massachusetts Information for Voters" booklet that was mailed to voter households in late September. A PDF of this booklet + including large print and audio versions as well as editions in Spanish and Chinese--also can be found online at http://www.sec.state.ma.us. Just look for the 2016 Information for Voters tab. https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/eleidx.htm

  • The recent ballot debate series, sponsored by the University of Massachusetts, Boston as well as the Boston Globe and WBUR, focused on Question 3 in the live debate broadcast on September 20th. The replay is available at http://www.wbur.org/radioboston. Go to the "archives" tab and scroll down to the September 20th broadcast of the debate. During the debate, moderated by reporters from WBUR and the Boston Globe, Paul Shapiro of The Humane Society spoke in favor of the measure. Bill Bell of the New England Brown Egg Council spoke in opposition. The rebroadcast of the program runs 52 minutes. http://www.wbur.org/radioboston/2016/09/20/september-20-2016-rb

Next week this column will focus on what Ballot Question 4 is asking voters to decide.

Hingham Journal - Well Informed Voter - October 20, 2016

Early Voting + Beginning Monday in Hingham

--By Eileen McIntyre, Hingham LWV

The Comprehensive Election Modernization Act, passed by the Massachusetts legislature in 2014, allows registered voters here to vote early in this fall's election. You may vote as early as Monday, October 24th at Hingham Town Hall, which will expand its hours to accommodate voters during the 11 day early-voting period.

How did early voting come about?

The Massachusetts League of Women Voters is part of a coalition that has worked with the legislature over several years on reforms to increase voter engagement. The coalition also includes Common Cause Massachusetts, MassVOTE, the ACLU of Massachusetts, MASSPIRG, and others. The 2014 law, signed by then Governor Patrick, established online voter registration, early voting in biennial statewide elections, pre-registration for 16 and 17 year olds, and audits of election equipment. In the two years since this law was passed, the Secretary of State's office created rules to help implement early voting across the Commonwealth, and town clerks' offices then got ready for the launch this fall.

How is early voting different from absentee voting?

Massachusetts already offered absentee voting -- for those who were going to be out of town on Election Day, or were incapacitated, or had religious beliefs that did not allow voting on a specific day. But early voting is available for all. No reason is necessary. In addition, early voting provides expanded hours--and includes one Saturday.

How can I vote early in Hingham?

To vote early in Hingham, go to the Town Hall office at 210 Central Street. Town Hall will extend its hours specifically for early voting beginning on October 24th. The early voting period ends Friday November 4th. (Election Day is Tuesday November 8th.)

  • On all weekdays during the week of October 24th and the week of October 31st, Town Hall will open early for voting--at 7 am.

  • On Tuesday October 25th and Tuesday November 1st, Town Hall will stay open for voting until 7 pm. On all other weekdays voting at Town Hall will conclude at the normal end of business (Monday-Thursday 4:30 pm and Friday 1 pm)

  • On Saturday October 29th, you also will be able to vote at Town Hall between the hours of 9 am and 1 pm.

A Busy Ballot--some preparation will help

This election is about much more than the choice of our next U.S. president. In Hingham we also will cast votes to select our representatives to the U.S. Congress and the Massachusetts Legislature, as well as for 3 other state and county positions. Party nominees for each of these positions were selected based on the results of the recent September Primary election.

In the coming election, the ballot also includes four statewide questions tied to potential new law on some important, and complex, issues for the electorate. Unlike elected state representatives, voters do not have staff or colleagues to help determine the merits of proposed legislation. However, there are resources available to provide some just-in-time education on the four ballot questions. As referenced in recent editions of this column focused on Questions 1 and 2, a good starting point is the red Massachusetts Information for Voters booklet mailed to voters in late September by the Secretary of State's office, and also available online at sec.state.ma.us. A modest investment of time will help you make well-informed decisions, whether you vote early at Town Hall, or send in an absentee ballot, or go to your polling place on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8th. Next week this column will take a look at ballot Question 3.

Hingham Journal - Well Informed Voter - October 13, 2016

Getting Educated about Question 2 on the Ballot

--By Eileen McIntyre, LWV of Hingham

This edition of "The Well Informed Voter" focuses on the second of 4 questions on our ballot this election.

In four ballot questions this year voters are being asked to consider changes to Massachusetts law. As the election nears, Question 2 is generating considerable attention. This column suggests some simple ways to inform yourself before casting your vote.

First, here is the summary of the proposed law, based on the official summary written by the State Attorney General.

Question 2: Charter School Expansion

This proposed law would allow the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to approve up to 12 new charter schools or enrollment expansions within existing charter schools each year. Approvals under this law could expand statewide charter school enrollment by up to 1% of the total statewide public school enrollment each year.

Were the Board to receive more than 12 applications in a single year from qualified applicants, then the proposed law would require it to give priority to proposed charter schools or enrollment expansions in districts where student performance on statewide assessments is in the bottom 25% of all districts in the previous two years, and where demonstrated parent demand for additional public school options is greatest.

New charter schools and enrollment expansions approved under this proposed law would be subject to the same approval standards as other charter schools, and to recruitment, retention, and multilingual outreach requirements that currently apply to some charter schools. Schools authorized under this law would be subject to annual performance reviews according to standards established by the Board.

The proposed law would take effect on January 1, 2017. A YES VOTE would allow for up to 12 approvals each year of either new charter schools or expanded enrollments in existing charter schools, but not to exceed 1% of the statewide public school enrollment.

A NO VOTE would make no change in current laws relative to charter schools.

Why should Hingham voters care about this question?

Unlike Question 1 (regarding expansion of slot-machine gaming) discussed in last week's column, the proposed law underlying Question 2 would directly impact all communities in the state. It is therefore especially important for each of us to learn about the arguments on both sides of this question. You can do this easily. But do set some time aside to prepare before you vote, whether you plan to take advantage of early voting (beginning October 24th at Town Hall), will vote via absentee ballot, or plan to vote at your polling location on election day, November 8th.

How to learn more about Question 2

  • Proponents and Opponents of Question 2 submitted 150-word summaries of their positions to the state. You should have received the red booklet "Information for Voters" in the mail, in late September from the Massachusetts Secretary of State's office. On page 6 of this booklet you will find the 150-word arguments submitted by those in support of the question and those opposed. A PDF of this guide (including large print, Spanish and Chinese language versions) and an mp3 audio option is available at https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/eleidx.htm

  • A debate on Question 2, sponsored by the University of Massachusetts at Boston, the Boston Globe, and WBUR, which was broadcast live on September 13th, is available online at WBUR-Radio Boston. http://www.wbur.org/radioboston Just click on "Archives" and scroll down to find the September 13th program. The re-broadcast runs 52 minutes. http://www.wbur.org/radioboston/2016/09/14/september-13-2016-rb

  • The advocacy groups on both sides of this question have websites with information supportive of their respective positions. On the pro side: http://yeson2ma.com/ and on the con side: https://saveourpublicschoolsma.com/

So just about two hours of homework can help you to make a well informed decision on this important ballot question.

Hingham Journal - Well Informed Voter - October 6, 2016

Voters facing decisions beyond choice of our next President

--By Eileen McIntyre, Hingham LWV

In the next few editions of "The Well Informed Voter" column, the focus is on the ballot for the coming election.

Some just-in-time education will be helpful as you prepare to exercise your right to vote this year. In Hingham, the ballot is about much more than choosing our next president. There are races for Congress, State Legislature and several other state and county positions to be decided. We also have four state-wide questions on the ballot.

How do questions get to the ballot?

In Massachusetts, one way that we can affect how we are governed is through the use of a petition for a ballot question. Such petitions may seek to have voters approve or reject:

  • new provisions to state law;

  • a proposed constitutional amendment;

  • the repeal of an existing law; or

  • non-binding instructions to a state representative or senator on a public policy matter.

This year, the four questions on our ballot all ask voters to approve or reject new provisions in state law. The results will be binding.

In concept, the Massachusetts petition for a ballot question resembles the way we submit articles for Hingham's Open Town Meeting. The questions on the state ballot this year each are the result of efforts by groups of registered voters over many months. Beginning with an initiative signed by ten voters and submitted by August 5th of last year, the required process for each proposed ballot question involved multiple steps, including review by the State Legislature. By July of this year, more than 75,000 additional signatories were required for each petition before it could appear on the ballot this fall.

A debate series held over the past month as well as TV political ads suggest that there are passionate voices on both sides of each question that made it to this year's ballot.

What are the topics covered by ballot questions this year?

A wide range of subjects are reflected in the four questions on our ballot.

  • Question 1 is about a proposed expansion of slot-machine gaming;

  • Question 2 is about a proposed expansion of charter schools;

  • Question 3 is about proposed regulations concerning conditions for farm animals;

  • Question 4 is about the proposed legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana.

For each question the sponsors of the initiative prepared a detailed proposal for changes to state law that would be necessary if the question was endorsed by voters, including a timetable for implementation.

How to get up to speed on each ballot question

Each of the ballot questions is consequential and warrants attention. In the next few weeks this column will provide information on the four ballot questions. In each case, the details provided will come from information posted on the Secretary of State's website or in the red "Massachusetts Information for Voters" booklet all households received in the mail in late September. You may want to access this information directly, either by reviewing the printed booklet you received in the mail, or by going online to http://www.sec.state.ma.us/ (look for the "Elections and Voting Tab" and scroll down to "Candidates and Ballot Questions", then click on "2016 Ballot Questions.")

You also may want to listen to replays of the ballot question debate series that has aired live on WBUR-FM. The series was sponsored by the University of Massachusetts at Boston, the Boston Globe and WBUR. The replays run about 52 minutes each. You can access/download the replays online at http://www.wbur.org/radioboston.

The series began with Question 2; which was broadcast on September 13th; then Question 3, which aired on September 20th; Question 1, which aired on September 27th and finally Question 4 which aired on October 4th.

Next week this column will focus on what Ballot Question #1 is asking voters to decide.

Hingham Journal - Well Informed Voter - September 29, 2016

Early Voting - Now a Reality in Massachusetts
--By Eileen McIntyre, Hingham LWV

The Comprehensive Election Modernization Act, passed by the Massachusetts legislature in 2014, allows registered voters here to vote early in this fall's election. You may vote as early as October 24th at Hingham Town Hall, which will expand its hours to accommodate voters during the 11 day early-voting period.

How did early voting come about?

The Massachusetts League of Women Voters is part of a coalition that has worked with the legislature over several years on reforms to increase voter engagement. The coalition also includes Common Cause Massachusetts, MassVOTE, the ACLU of Massachusetts, MASSPIRG, and others. The 2014 law, signed by then Governor Patrick, established online voter registration, early voting in biennial statewide elections, pre-registration for 16 and 17 year olds, and audits of election equipment. In the two years since this law was passed, the Secretary of State's office created rules to help implement early voting across the Commonwealth, and town clerks' offices then got ready for the launch this fall.

How is early voting different from absentee voting?

Massachusetts already offered absentee voting -- for those who were going to be out of town on Election Day, or were incapacitated, or had religious beliefs that did not allow voting on a specific day. But early voting is available for all. No reason is necessary. In addition, early voting provides expanded hours--and includes one Saturday.

How can I vote early in Hingham?

To vote early in Hingham, go to the Town Hall office at 210 Central Street. Town Hall will extend its hours specifically for early voting beginning on October 24th. The early voting period ends Friday November 4th. (Election Day is Tuesday November 8th.)

  • On all weekdays during the week of October 24th and the week of October 31st, Town Hall will open early for voting--at 7 am.

  • On Tuesday October 25th and Tuesday November 1st, Town Hall will stay open for voting until 7 pm. On all other weekdays voting at Town Hall will conclude at the normal end of business (Monday-Thursday 4:30 pm and Friday 1 pm)

  • On Saturday October 29th, you also will be able to vote at Town Hall between the hours of 9 am and 1 pm.

A Busy Ballot--some preparation will help

This election is about much more than the choice of our next U.S. president. In Hingham we also will cast votes to select our representatives to the U.S. Congress and the Massachusetts Legislature, as well as for 3 other state and county positions. Party nominees for each of these positions were selected based on the results of the recent September Primary election.

In the coming election, the ballot also includes four statewide referendum questions on some important issues for the electorate. Referendum questions can sometimes surprise voters, so in the next few weeks this column will explain each question and point you to additional resources available to help you make well-informed decisions, whether you vote early or on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8th.

Hingham Journal - Well Informed Voter - September 8, 2016

Democracy is Not a Spectator Sport
--by Eileen McIntyre, for the League of Women Voters of Hingham

The "Well Informed Voter" series in recent weeks has focused attention on our September 8th Primary election. Past columns in this series can be found at the Hingham Journal website, searching by "LWV".

Running for elected office requires a candidate's passionate commitment, as well as time and resources. This is true for elections at all levels of government. Family and members of the community pitch in as volunteers too--holding signs, mailing postcards, knocking on doors and hosting meet-the-candidate events.

In this Primary election, 20 declared candidates + including 6 write-in candidates, seek to become nominees for 7 elected offices--to represent us in the U.S. Congress, in our state legislature, and in other important positions in state and county government. Our community and our democracy are strengthened by these twenty candidacies, no matter which candidates receive the most votes today. By voting in the Primary election, we in the electorate also contribute powerfully to making a reality of government of, by, and for the people.

If you have not yet voted in the Primary, the polls are open until 8 tonight, September 8th. If you are newly registered and uncertain of your polling place (there are three in Hingham), go to the Town of Hingham website, http://www.hingham-ma.gov and choose the "Election and Voter" tab.

If the passion of the candidates running for nomination today inspires you, there are a number of ways to get involved directly in the political process.

  • You may want to support one of the nominees who win their Primary today, as they ramp up efforts ahead of the November election. Find out how to do this at the website of the candidate you choose to support.

  • If you would like to help on Election Day in the future in a non-partisan way, you can seek an appointed position as an Election Officer. Appointments are made annually and you will receive training. Contact the Hingham Town Clerk's office for more information.

  • For any of you interested in seeking elected office in the future, one useful first step is serving on a Town Committee. A list of the many volunteer committees that contribute to our town's governance is available under the "Government" tab at http://www.hingham-ma.gov. On this website you can also fill out a form to seek appointment to a Town Committee. Just look for "How Do I?" and scroll down to select: "Volunteer."

  • If you are not registered to vote in today's Primary, you now have until October 19th to get registered to vote in the November election. If you are new to Hingham you will need to register to vote here, even if you were registered in a prior location. You can register over the counter at Town Hall during regular business hours. The Town Clerk's office is at the Town Hall (210 Central Street). You can also register to vote online. The Massachusetts online registration system is available at http://www.sec.state.ma.us. To register online you will want to have handy a valid driver's license, or a permit or non-driver ID, issued by the MA Registry of Motor Vehicles.

The "Well Informed Voter" will return to the Hingham Journal on September 29th when we will begin a series of columns focused on the November ballot, including several referendum questions that will be before Massachusetts voters on November 8th.

Hingham Journal - Well Informed Voter - September 1, 2016

Plymouth County positions on the September 8th Ballot
--by Eileen McIntyre, for the League of Women Voters of Hingham

This edition of the Well Informed Voter focuses once more on the September 8th Primary election.

The author of this column has some first-hand experience with county government. As a high school junior quite a few years ago, I headed up the Mosquito Control Commission for a day-- as part of County Government Day in Bergen County, New Jersey. (I'm still "buzzing" with excitement as I recall that honor.) Now though, county government puzzles me. Assuming I am not alone in this, I've done some research into our own Plymouth County, to shed more light on the two county positions on the Primary ballot next week:

County Commissioner--Plymouth County--Vote for No More than Two

So, what is a County Commissioner and why are we now voting to nominate two of them?

The executive authority of Plymouth County is vested in a three person Board of County Commissioners. Commissioners each serve four-year terms. Two of the three commissioners are elected in "presidential" election years (like this year), the third is elected in the "gubernatorial" election years. Here are this year's candidates seeking nomination in the Primary:

  • On the Democratic Party ballot: Greg Hanley (incumbent) and Lincoln Heineman

  • On the Republican Party ballot: Daniel Pallotta (incumbent) and Anthony O'Brien, Sr.

The United Independent and Green Rainbow primary ballots do not list candidates for nomination for county commissioner.

The main responsibility of the Board of County Commissioners is financial management of Plymouth County's annual multi-million dollar budget. The commissioners:

-- review and approve budgets prepared by full-time department heads who oversee day-to-day operations of the functions of our county government (SEE BELOW).

-- sign contracts with county vendors, and for the use of property owned by the county.

-- oversee the county's health insurance and retirement plans, and help coordinate shared services among those towns who choose to participate.

Sheriff -- Plymouth County

The state now funds and operates the Plymouth County Sheriff's department and jail. The work of the Sheriff's department includes:

--operating the Plymouth County Correctional Facility, which houses approximately 1,650 inmates, some sentenced and some awaiting trial.

--coordinating fire mutual aid in the county, and also serving as the communications link between paramedics and hospitals, and providing communications services at the scene of major events.

--assisting local police, as requested, through the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Sheriffs are elected to six-year terms.

In the Republican primary, incumbent Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph McDonald is seeking re-nomination.

In the Democratic primary, Scott Vecchi is seeking nomination.

No other parties have candidates for Sheriff on their primary ballots.

Functions of Plymouth County government:
-- owns and manages the Registry of Deeds
-- is responsible for maintenance of the three county courthouse buildings, including the Hingham District Courthouse. (The state is responsible for county court operations.)
-- processes parking tickets for thirty-nine municipalities and governmental entities.
-- operates a cooperative extension service, providing educational resources and programs relating to agriculture and landscape sciences, and supporting a 4-H program for children.
--maintains and operates a fire observation plane, used by the local fire departments to assist in fighting forest fires.
--provides grants "for the purpose of promoting and advertising the recreational, industrial, agricultural and historical advantages" of Plymouth County.
--maintains custody of historic records for the County Government dating back to its establishment in 1685, as well as older records for the Old Colony of Plymouth. As discussed in previous columns, next week's primary also includes elections of nominees for: U.S. Congress, State representative, State senator, and Governor's Council.

Please vote in the Primary on Thursday September 8th!

Hingham Journal - Well Informed Voter - August 25, 2016

More Demystifying of the September Primary ballot

In this edition of the Well Informed Voter, we again focus on the upcoming September 8th Primary election.

PARTY VS. UNENROLLED

To vote in the Primary in Massachusetts, you need to vote in the Party in which you are enrolled. For example, if you are registered as a Democrat, you will take a ballot for that party. This will be the same for Republican, United Independent Party and Green Rainbow Party. If you are unenrolled in a party, you may take a ballot of your choice and your voting status will remain "unenrolled" after you vote.

GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL

One of the less-familiar positions you may see on your party's ballot in this Primary is Councillor, Fourth District. The Massachusetts Governor's Council, also known as the Executive Council, is composed of eight individuals elected from districts, and the Lieutenant Governor, who serves ex officio. The eight councilors are elected from their respective districts every 2 years. What is the Role of the Governor's Council?

The Council meets weekly to record their advice and consent on some important, but less visible, decisions that are part of state government. For example, the Council advises on gubernatorial appointments such as judges, members of the Parole Board, the Appellate Tax Board, notaries and justices of the peace. They also offer their views on pardons and commutations, as well as warrants for the state treasury. Most voters would not have reason to interact directly with the Council, but members of the public are welcome at Council assemblies and hearings. A Governor's Council hearing schedule is available on the Mass.gov website. Look for the Governor's Council tab. You may want to include a Council hearing as part of a visit to the State House.

In the Democratic primary, voters can choose to re-nominate as Councilor incumbent Christopher Iannella, or to nominate Stephen Flynn. There are no candidates for nomination as Councilor listed on other Party ballots in the September Primary.

REVISITING SOME IMPORTANT "WRITE-IN" HOW-TO's AHEAD OF THE SEPTEMBER 8th PRIMARY

As discussed in last week's column, the upcoming Primary includes some races for state legislature where "write-in" candidates have emerged in the Democratic, Republican and United Independent party races. If you are choosing a write in candidate,

  • Use the designated "WRITE IN SPACE ONLY" location clearly marked on the ballot for that specific nomination.
  • Hingham Town Clerk Eileen McCracken has told us that as long as the name of a write-in choice is legible, it will count, whether or not you include the candidate's address on the ballot.
  • Some write-in candidates for the September Primary are making stickers available for use in the primary. Printed stickers can be applied to a ballot to indicate a voter's "write in" choice.
  • Whether you choose to "write in" or use a sticker, you will need to fill in the oval at the end of the line you are voting on. If you neglect to fill in the oval, your vote will not count.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: Thursday, September 8th

Hingham Journal - Well Informed Voter - August 18, 2016

Making your vote count on September 8th

Welcome to the second edition of Well Informed Voter, a service of the League of Women Voters of Hingham. We encourage all registered voters to participate in the September 8th primary, which includes some important legislative races.

Those we elect to our state legislature enact laws that have a noticeable impact on our daily lives. For example, issues acted on in the 2016 Massachusetts state legislative session included: pay equity, charter schools, energy, early education, gender identity discrimination, regulation of ride-hailing companies, repair and construction of municipal roads, restrictions on MBTA fare increases, substance abuse treatment and prevention, and taxes.

SEVERAL ARE SEEKING PARTY NOMINATIONS FOR STATE REP

As you may know, the incumbent state representative for the 3rd Plymouth District, Garrett Bradley, unexpectedly decided not to seek reelection after the June 7th filing deadline for changes to the September primary ballot. Several "write in" candidates have now emerged to seek their respective party's nomination in the September 8th Primary election. The list below includes the announced candidates to date.

WRITE-IN CANDIDATES FOR STATE REP NOMINATION, THIRD PLYMOUTH DISTRICT (listed in alphabetical order)

Democratic:

Republican: United Independent: Due to the timing of Bradley's decision not to seek reelection, his name still appears on the Democratic primary ballot. Were Bradley to get the most votes in the primary, the State Democratic Party would then choose a replacement candidate for the November general election. For voters in Hingham Precinct 2, in the 4th Norfolk District, state representative James Murphy is running for re-nomination on the Democratic primary ballot. No opposing candidates to Murphy have emerged thus far.

WRITE-IN HOW-TO's

  • Hingham Town Clerk Eileen McCracken has told us that as long as the name of a write-in choice is legible, it will count, whether or not you include the candidate's address on the ballot.
  • Some write-in candidates for the September Primary are making stickers available for use in the primary. (Check each candidate's website for more information.) Printed stickers can be applied to a ballot to indicate a voter's "write in" choice.
  • Whether you choose to "write in" or use a sticker, you will need to fill in the oval at the end of the line you are voting on.

CONTESTED SEAT FOR STATE SENATE

Patrick O'Connor won a special election for state senate representing Plymouth and Norfolk counties earlier this year, and has now served what was the remainder of former state senator Bob Hedlund's term. O'Connor seeks re-nomination in September in the Republican primary. There is a challenge to O'Connor on both the Republican and Democratic ballots.

Candidates For State Senate

Democratic

Republican The Democratic ballot will also list Joan Meschino as a potential nominee for state senate. However, Meschino has exited the state senate race, and is running instead as a write-in candidate for state representative (see above). If Meschino were to inadvertently receive the most votes in the state senate race, the state Democratic Party would choose their candidate for state senate in the November election.

ALSO ON THE SEPTEMBER BALLOT

The Democratic primary ballot includes one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Stephen Lynch, seeks renomination from the Massachusetts 8th Congressional District. Lynch is opposed on the Republican primary ballot by William Burke.

The Democratic primary ballot includes a choice of two candidates for Governor's Council (Christopher Ianella, Jr., who is seeking re-nomination, OR Stephen Flynn). Both the Democratic and Republican ballots offer candidates for nomination in uncontested races for Plymouth County Sheriff and for the two County Commissioner positions.

Hope to see you at the polls on September 8th!

Hingham Journal - Well Informed Voter - August 11, 2016

Registration deadline for the primary

Welcome to the Well Informed Voter, a service of the League of Women Voters of Hingham.

Our objective, over the coming weeks, is to help you to easily exercise your right to vote this election season. Elections this fall include:

  • The State Primary on Thursday, September 8th and
  • The Presidential Election/State election taking place on Tuesday, November 8th.

Much media attention currently is on our November presidential election. But on September 8th, voters here will have an opportunity to select from among the candidates seeking their respective party's nomination for several important state and county positions that have a direct impact on our day-to-day lives. So we strongly encourage you to vote in the primary next month. If you are not currently registered, and wish to vote in the September 8th primary, you should act quickly.
  • This year, for the September 8th State primary, the cut-off date to register to vote, or to change your party affiliation, is August 19th.

You can register over the counter at Town Hall during regular business hours. The Town Clerk's office at the Town Hall (210 Central Street) is open:
  • Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm;
  • Tuesday from 8:30 am to 7 pm; and
  • Friday from 8:30 am to 1 pm. On Friday, August 19th, the Hingham Town Clerk's office will have extended hours, remaining open until 5 pm for voter registration.

You can also register on line. The Massachusetts on line registration system is available at sec.state.ma.us. To register on line you will want to have handy a valid driver's license, or a permit or non-driver ID, issued by the MA Registry of Motor Vehicles.

WHO CAN REGISTER TO VOTE?

The only requirements to become a registered voter in MA are:

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen;
  • You must be at least 18 years of age on or before the next election; however, in Massachusetts, effective this month, 16 and 17 year olds now can pre-register, and can then vote in the first election on or following their 18th birthday.
  • You must be a resident of Massachusetts;
  • You cannot be currently incarcerated by reason of a felony conviction.

AVOIDING CONFUSION IN THE PRIMARY

In the next "Well Informed Voter" column, we will provide more specific information about the September 8th state primary. As you may know, some candidates listed on certain party ballots in the September primary are no longer candidates for the positions where their names will appear on the ballot. In addition, "write in" candidates have now emerged in a couple of primary races.

We will clarify all of this in our next column, and provide some "how to" guidance about voting for "write-in" candidates.