September 4 is THE day in Massachusetts, but especially in Amherst. We get to hold two elections -- one a party primary which will actually decide who our state rep and state senator will be -- and a general "preliminary" election open to all voters to decide which candidates for town councilor will be on the ballot in November.
The race for Representative in General Court (top right on the ballot) is between Mindy Domb and Eric Nakajima, both excellent people. Our current representative, Solomon Goldstein-Rose, not only left the Democratic Party, he also decided not to run for re-election.
The race for Senator in General Court (bottom of middle column on the ballot) now has four candidates. One is on the ballot: Chelsea Kline. The other 3 are running as write-in candidates: Jo Comerford, Steven Connor, and Ryan O'Donnell. If you choose to support one of the write in candidates, the rules are: write the name (and address) or use a sticker supplied by the candidate's supporters in the space below Kline's name and fill in the oval to its right. The town clerk must accept any spelling or without the address if it is clear who is indicated, and IT IS IN THE CORRECT PLACE BELOW "SENATOR." Since the Senate race covers 24 towns, my guess is that all of the campaigns would love election day volunteers to stand outside the polls and, if write ins, hand out stickers. The contacts for the campaigns are:
Just in case you have forgotten, there are also races for:
Governor: Bob Massie and Jay Gonzalez
Lt. Governor: Quentin Palfrey and Jimmy Tingle
Secy of State: William Galvin and Josh Zakim
There will be a ballot question on nurse staffing in hospitals in November. Hospitals oppose it, the MA nurses organization supports it. Our committee has voted to support the question.
I think the last chance to meet our local candidates will be at the Shutesbury Athletic Club, 282 Wendell Rd, Shutesbury on Sunday, August 26, from 3-5. There will also be candidates for the 1st and 2nd Franklin Rep seats, and we will honor Stan Rosenberg and Steve Kulik for their service. If you are so inclined, Amherst pot luck contributions should be sweets.
DIRECTIONS: take Main St east as it becomes Pelham Rd, then Amherst Rd (all about 6 miles) Turn left onto 202/Daniel Shays Hwy, stay on for 4.24 miles. Turn left onto Prescott Rd (0.8 mi) which becomes Cooleyville Rd (0.45 mi). Turn right onto Wendell Rd.
The other election is for Town Councilors. The election is set up to bring the number of candidates on the ballot in November to twice the number to be elected -- 3 at-large, so 6 can be on the ballot, and two per district, so 4 can be on the ballot. This means that you will receive a second ballot for the town. Everyone will see 7 candidates for at-large and you can vote for up to 3. District 1 has only 4 people running, so they won't see anything else. In the other 4 districts there will be 5 or more names, and you can vote for up to 2. Amherst Media has short speeches from each candidate and the League of Women Voters has collected statements which will be in the Gazette just before the election. Many of us have opinions, so we should talk among ourselves.
If you need an absentee ballot, or know someone who does, note that you can get them from the Town Clerk, and that if they are mailed they will be mailed as two separate ballots, probably in two separate envelopes.
The Jones Library often gets a number of questions asking whether anyone can offer a ride to the polls. If you can help, please let Linda Wentworth at the reference desk know. Call the library at 259-3090.
As always there are campaigns here and across the country that seek help in strengthening Democratic representation in Congress and in local governments. I hope we can all do our part.
As always, the campaigns want you!