Elections

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2009 Municipal Election Voter Information

The 2009 municipal elections will be held this Tuesday, November 3rd (tomorrow!). Voters will have the opportunity to decide who will serve the next term on the Cambridge City Council, the Somerville Board of Aldermen, and the School Committees of both Cambridge and Somerville.

Cambridge will have heavy competition with 20 candidates on the ballot (for 9 City Council seats), along with one incumbent write-in candidate. This represents a large increase from the previous municipal election in 2007, when 15 people ran. Hopefully the increase in candidates will be matched by an increase in voter turnout. There are 9 candidates for 6 School Committee seats.

In Somerville there are fewer challengers this cycle. The Board of Aldermen (11 seats) will have two challengers: one for an At-large seat and one for Alderman of Ward 6. The School Committee has two challengers for the 7 seats: one in Ward 4 and one in Ward 5.

The most important thing to do is to get out there and exercise your right to participate in our city government. Here are a few frequently asked questions, but please let me know if you have any further questions.

Where do I vote?
There are dozens of polling locations in Cambridge and Somerville, and yours should be very close to your home address. To help you find your polling location, the state elections division has created an online resource:
wheredoivotema.com

Enter your address in the form, being careful to only enter what each section asks for. If you run into trouble but you need to find out where to vote, please contact me at (617) 722-2380 or call the elections division directly at (617) 727-2828.

What will my ballot look like?

There will be 20 candidates for the Cambridge City Council (plus the write-in incumbent) and 9 for the Cambridge School Committee on the Cambridge ballot. Using proportional representation, all candidates are ranked by preference, with #1 being your top preference. You are allowed as many choices as there are candidates for Council and School Committee. DO NOT put the same number down for more than one candidate, it will not count for either.

For more information on the Cambridge voting system and a sample ballot, please follow the links below:
Elections Dept. page
Sample ballot (pdf)

In Somerville there will be 5 candidates for Alderman-at-large along with candidates for each of the 7 wards. They do not use proportional representation system of voting. You are allowed one vote in each ward and 4 votes for the 4 Aldermen-at-large seats.

Somerville:
Elections Dept. page
Sample ballots by ward (pdfs)

Where can I get more information on the candidates?

For last minute information on the Cambridge candidates, please visit Robert Winters’ Civic Journal candidate page.

Videos from Somerville Community Access Television (SCAT) are available for each of the contested races this year here.

2008 General Election Voter Information

The 2008 general election will be held this Tuesday, November 4th. It will mark the end of a long and historic election season that has generated enthusiasm and interest here at home and across the world. Here are a few questions people may still have:

Where do I vote?
There are dozens of polling locations in Cambridge and Somerville, and yours should be very close to your home address. To help you find your polling location, the state elections division has created an online resource:
wheredoivotema.com

What will be on my ballot?
This is a general election, so there will be offices up for election at every level. This will be your chance to vote for president after a long and grueling campaign, as well as three ballot questions.
Detailed information on the ballot questions can be found at the state’s election website:
2008 Massachusetts Statewide Ballot Questions

Question 1: State Personal Income Tax
A YES VOTE would reduce the state personal income tax rate to 2.65% for the tax year beginning on January 1, 2009, and would eliminate the tax for all tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2010.
A NO VOTE would make no change in state income tax laws.

Question 2: Possession of Marijuana
A YES VOTE would replace the criminal penalties for
possession of one ounce or less of marijuana with a new system of civil penalties.
A NO VOTE would make no change in state criminal laws concerning possession of marijuana.

Question 3: Dog Racing
A YES VOTE would prohibit dog races on which betting or wagering occurs, effective January 1, 2010.
A NO VOTE would make no change in the laws governing dog racing.

Register to Vote: Deadline is October 15th!

More info on voting: Massachusetts Elections Division
To order a form: Elections Division Voter Registration Form Request

If you aren’t registered to vote yet, time is running out to take part in this year’s big general election. Along with local and national candidates, there will also be three statewide ballot questions on the November 4th ballot, where voters will have the chance to vote directly on initiatives eliminating the state income tax, decriminalizing the possession of marijuana, and prohibiting betting on dog racing.

If you are already registered and involved in the process, I hope you will take the opportunity to get others involved and remind anyone you know who may not yet be registered to get a form filled out and mailed to City Hall before October 15th.

If you need to get a registration form, there are several places you can pick them up. You can stop by my district office to get registration forms (Contact me if the office is closed to set up a time you can stop by), or you can order forms online from the elections division. You can also pick them up at Cambridge or Somerville City Hall or a local post office.