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My Turn: Want a say on House, Senate seat selections? Vote Sept. 4

With a lineup of all Democrats, western Massachusetts slots will be decided during primaries

  • AMYOT



Thursday, August 09, 2018

On Sept. 4, just a few weeks from this day, the Massachusetts primaries will be held across the commonwealth. Will you vote?

Historically, few people have voted in the primaries, believing that they are not as important as the actual elections. This is a mistake, of course, because it is the primaries that give us the candidates whose names we will have to choose from in the actual elections. In a way, this may make them even more important than the final elections but, certainly, they matter no less.

And this year, it happens that all of the people running in the primaries for the open state Senate and House seats here in western Massachusetts represent the same Democratic party. Thus, whichever Democrat will win in the primaries will be the ONLY candidate in the final elections. In other words, if you don’t vote in the primaries, there will be nothing for you to vote for in the actual election, locally speaking.

For the 1st Franklin House District that has been Stephen Kulik’s, seven excellent candidates are vying for the one seat. Whoever the winner will be on Sept. 4 may make a big difference for future happenings in the 1st Franklin District and, perhaps, as Rep. Kulik showed us, for all the commonwealth. The election in November will simply confirm what everyone will already know: the September winner will be the November winner.

Similarly, the Senate seat that had been Stan Rosenberg’s will go to one of the Democrats who are running, since there is no Republican vying for the post. So, our state Senator will also be decided on Sept. 4, and a vote delayed until November will decide nothing for western Massachusetts directly.

And, the 1st Congressional District seat will also likely be decided in the primaries since there are two important candidates running as Democrats, though there will also be another party represented in that race, come November.

The November election will be important for statewide positions — such as one of our U.S. senators, governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general and more since there are candidates from at least two parties running for each of those seats. However, here again, the primaries will decide which of those candidates will get to run in November.

In other words, voting in the primaries in September will be as important as voting in the actual election in November.

Now, in order to be able to vote in the September primaries, you will need to be registered by no later than Aug. 15. So, if you aren’t registered or, if you have changed your name or address since you last registered, run, don’t walk, to the town clerk’s office and register right away. There isn’t much time left to ensure that your important voice gets to be heard as a vote for Massachusetts.

Absentee ballots are also available now, but not for long. Check with your town clerk about this if you will need to vote absentee.

You can learn a lot about the candidates by checking them out online or, better yet, by getting to one or more of the following forums or meet-and-greets to get to know the candidates so that you can make an informed choice when you will mark that ballot. Below are some upcoming forums:

1st Franklin District Forum, sponsored by Racial Justice Rising and Not in Our Town, focusing on Racism and Racial Justice, on Saturday, Aug. 25, from 10 a.m. to noon at First Congregational Church, Silver Street in Greenfield.

Greenfield State Senate Candidates Forum, sponsored by the Recorder and the League of Women Voters, on Monday, Aug. 13, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Deerfield Academy, Hess Center, 7 Boyden Lane in Deerfield.

State Senate Candidates Forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, focusing on Food Justice and Health Equity, on Tuesday, Aug. 14, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Shea Theater in Turners Falls.

All Candidates (First Franklin and Senate candidates) Meet and Greet, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, on Tuesday, Aug. 28, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Greenfield Community College’s dining commons.

There you have it, folks. See you at the polls on Sept. 4.

Louise Amyot is a resident of Greenfield, long dedicated to the importance of voting by everyone.