Political notebook: Primary voter registration ends Wednesday

Published: 8/13/2018 5:02:12 PM
Primary registration deadline Wednesday

Wednesday is the last day to register to vote or make changes to registration in time for the Sept. 4 state primary, according to Secretary of State William F. Galvin.

Voters may register or change their political party or address online, by mail or in person.

Independent voters may vote in the party primary of their choice. Voters registered in a political party — Democratic, Republican or Libertarian — are eligible to vote in their own party’s primary. Voters who wish to vote in the primary of a different party must unenroll from their party by Aug. 15.

Independent voters who vote in a party primary will remain independent voters when they leave their polling place.

Voters can check their party affiliation and other voter registration information at: sec.state.ma.us/ele or by calling their town clerks.

Those with identification issued by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles may submit registration forms, address changes and party changes online at RegisterToVoteMA.com until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday.

Voters registering by mail are reminded to have their forms postmarked by Wednesday.

All city and town election offices must be open until 8 p.m. on Wednesday for voters who wish to register to vote in person.

Blais wants rural policy office

Natalie Blais, candidate for state representative for the 1st Franklin District has outlined plans to establish an Office of Rural Policy.

“The 1st Franklin District is primarily rural. Policies written for urban areas don’t fit our local towns and communities,” Blais said. “If elected to represent the 19 towns of this district, I would work collaboratively with the western Massachusetts delegation to establish an Office of Rural Policy.”

The office, she said, would “ensure that policies and programs created in Boston are viewed from a rural perspective before they are enacted, advocate for funding programs that are fair and available to rural areas and recognize and address the unique economic and financial challenges faced by rural Massachusetts.”

A 15-member Rural Policy Advisory Commission was established in 2015. “I want to commend RPAC for the work that they have accomplished to date without staffing or a budget. We need to put the challenges facing our rural communities at the top of our priority list and establish a full-time Director of Rural Policy.”

Local representatives on the Rural Policy Advisory Commission, which meets quarterly, include Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru; Linda Dunlavy, executive director of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments and Dave Christopolis, executive director of the Hilltown Community Development Corporation.

“The Office of Rural Policy would work collaboratively with existing rural leaders, including the Pioneer Valley and Berkshire Regional Planning Commissions, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments and others focused on rural issues,” Blais said.

Pease endorsed by LGBTQ advocacy group

Casey Pease, candidate for 1st Franklin District, has won the endorsement of the Bay State Stonewall Democrats, the official advocacy arm within the Massachusetts Democratic Party on behalf of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer (LGBTQ) community.

“I’m honored to earn the endorsement of the Stonewall Democrats,” Pease said. “As we see attempts to rollback trans rights with November’s ballot question and increased hate speech across the Commonwealth, it’s important we elect LGBTQI+ candidates and strong allies to the Statehouse as we fight for equality.”

The Bay State Stonewall Democrats fight for equal opportunity for all, protecting and expanding the rights of the poor, working people and minorities while promoting freedom and responsibility for all.

Pease’s campaign gains momentum on the heels of his Run for Something endorsement, the national organization that recruits and supports strong voices in the next generation of progressive leadership.

“Being recognized by these two organizations in the last two days proves we’re running a powerful, inclusive community-led campaign,” Pease said.

O’Donnell criticizes state telecom provision

Ryan O’Donnell, the Northampton City Council president running as a write-in candidate in the Democratic Primary for the Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester District in the state Senate, released a statement Sunday criticizing a portion of the economic development bill passed by the state House and Senate and signed by the governor on Friday.

O’Donnell said the telecom industry reportedly fought a provision that would have allowed publicly-owned broadband utilities to provide service to customers in neighboring towns. Ultimately, he said that the bill did allow such cross-border service, but only if there was no existing internet service provider.

“Clarifying that public networks can cross borders was definitely a good thing,” O’Donnell said in the statement. “Unfortunately, the wording of the provision also helps shelter companies like Comcast from future competition from town-owned utilities. These companies may be afraid that they might one day have to compete with public broadband.

“The Legislature should create policies to encourage public broadband in Massachusetts, not just in the places where broadband is currently lacking, but in many communities. Competition brings down prices and improves service for people in ways monopolies cannot,” O’Donnell continued.

The statement says municipally-owned broadband utilities can take the lead in ensuring equal access to the internet and service to low-income people in the wake of the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality. It also the governor’s veto of a commission that would have studied hindrances to providing last-mile broadband internet connections to rural areas, a plan contained in the economic development bill.

In the primary, O’Donnell is running against Chelsea Kline, an educator and women’s rights advocate, who is the only candidate on the ballot, as well as write-in candidates Jo Comerford, a former MoveOn.org campaign director, and Central Hampshire Veterans’ Services Director Steven Connor. All candidates are from Northampton. The primary will take place on Sept. 4.


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