(WWLP) - A true day of decision for Bay State voters: choosing our next President and U.S. Senator in races that never seemed closer. Election Day 2012 has all the makings of a November to remember. Voting hours are uniform throughout the state, 7am-8pm, with one very notable local exception. Polls in the Hampshire County town of Granby will open at 6am.
There are also local/regional contested races and ballot questions that we are tracking.
Republican Scott Brown won a special election in January 2010 to serve the remainder of the late Senator Edward Kennedy's term. Now Brown is running for his 1st full 6 year term in the U.S. Senate. His opponent is Harvard Professor, Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
Governor's Councilor - 8th District
Three term incumbent Democrat Thomas Merrigan of Greenfield chose not to seek re-election. Former Mayor Mike Albano, a Longmeadow Democrat, faces Republican and Holyoke Veterans Agent Mike Franco of Holyoke. Franco is making his 4th campaign for the seat.
Mass. House - 2nd Hampden District
Second term Democratic State Rep. Brian Ashe of Longmeadow is challenged by Longmeadow Selectboard Member & attorney Marie Angelides, a Republican, in a rematch of the 2010 November election.
Mass. House - 3rd Hampden District
First term Republican Nick Boldgya of Southwick is running for re-election against Democrat Sam DiSanti of Agawam, a retired postal worker.
Mass. House - 5th Hampden District
Six term Democratic incumbent Michael Kane resigned his seat in June to become the Director of Government Affairs with Columbia Gas. Now there's a 3 way race to determine his successor. Holyoke City Councilor, Democrat Aaron Vega was Kane's only pre-primary opponent. But Republican Ward 5 Holyoke City Councilor Linda Vacon and Independent Jerry Hobert, a political newcomer, were able to get on the November ballot after successful write-in efforts on primary day in September.
Mass. House - 6th Hampden District
Freshman Democrat Michael Finn is seeking a 2nd term against political newcomer Lincoln Blackie, an independent. Both are from West Springfield.
Mass. House - 9th Hampden District
Incumbent Democrat Sean Curran of Springfield is seeking his 5th term in the State House. His opponent is unenrolled candidate Robert Underwood of Springfield, who ran for the seat in 2010, 2006 and 2004.
Mass. House - 11th Hampden District
Democrat Ben Swan is opposed by Independent Norman Oliver. Oliver has previously run for the Springfield City Council and also ran again Swan in 2006. If elected Representative Swan will go back to Beacon Hill for his 10th two year term.
Mass. House - 12th Hampden District
Attorney Angelo Puppolo, a Springfield Democrat, is seeking a 4th term in the Massachusetts House. His opponent is Republican John McCarthy from Wilbraham, the chairman of Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School Committee.
Mass. House - 2nd Franklin District
First term incumbent Democrat Denise Andrews of Orange is in a 3 way race for re-election. Andrews faces Republican Susannah Whipps Lee of Athol as well as Independent Rick Schober, Jr. of Templeton.
Mass. House - 5th Worcester
Democrat Anne Gobi of Spencer is seeking a 6th term in the Massachusetts House. Republican Jason Petraitis of North Brookfield is trying to unseat her.
Mass. House - 4th Berkshire
Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, a Democrat from Lee, is campaigning for a 6th two year term. Green Rainbow party candidate Lee "Scott" Laugenour of Lenox is making his 2nd try for the seat, a rematch from the 2010 election.
Register of Deeds - Hampshire County
Incumbent Marianne Donohue retired last year. Democrate Mary Olberding of Belchertown is opposed by Independent George Zimmerman of Northampton.
Massachusetts Question 1 - Vehicle Repair Information
Question 1 supporters and opponents reportedly had agreed to ask voters to ignore this ballot initiative. In July the Massachusetts Legislature reached a compromised on the right to repair issue. When Governor Patrick signed the bill, Massachusetts became the 1st state to pass a low on an issue that's been fought over nationally. But when the law passed it was too late to take the question off the ballot. In mid October, AAA of Southern New England announced plans to campaign for a Yes vote, saying the compromise law leaves too much wiggle room for automakers not to share all of their repair information. Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers officials have said they would encourage people not to vote on the question.
Massachusetts Question 2 – Medication to End Life
Voting Yes would allow a doctor licensed in Massachusetts to prescribe medication, at the request of a terminally-ill patient meeting certain conditions, to end that person's life. Supporters say while this choice isn't for everyone, everyone should have the right to this choice. Opponents say the question is poorly written, confusing, and lacks the most basic safeguards.
Massachusetts Question 3 – Medical Marijuana
A Yes vote would end state criminal & civil penalties related
to medical marijuana use. Medical marijuana would be produced and distributed by new state regulated centers. In specific hardship cases, patients could be permitted to grow marijuana for their own use. Supporters say medical marijuana would help thousands of people with cancer and other diseases or debilitating conditions. Opponents are concerned about loopholes in the law that would create corruption and exploitation.
Northampton Charter Change Question
Among the changes voters would approve include an increase in the mayor's term from 2 years to 4 years, all school committee terms running concurrently and for 2 years, and creating a special election to fill mayoral vacancies. A Yes vote would also update language in the charter and make the charter easier to understand.
Easthampton Schools Override Question
Easthampton voters will decide if they want to raise property taxes for an additional $1.4 million for the school department's operating budget. This is an override, not a debt exclusion question.
Granby Agriculture Excise Question
Voters will decide if there should be a tax exemption for farmers on certain animals, machinery, and equipment.
Ware Wastewater Plant Bond Question
This is a Proposition 2 and a half override to pay for improvements to the town's wastewater treatment plant.
Westhampton Community Preservation Act Question
Westhampton voters will decide if they want to pay a surcharge on their real estate tax bills to fund open space, recreation, and other projects.
Hampshire COuncil of Governments Charter Revision Question
This question deals with proposed changes in procedures for communities joining the council, increasing a councilor's term from 2 to 3 years, and changing the number of elected councilors. The question is not on all the ballot of all Hampshire County communities, just the ones who are members of the council.
West Springfield Community Preservation Act Exemption Question
Voters will decide if business and commercial property should get the first $100,000 of value exempt from the CPA surcharge, just like residential properties do now.
Bernardston Highway Department Truck & Elementary School Roof
The Franklin County town of Bernardston has two Proposition 2 and a half override questions; a bond to buy a new highway department truck and a bond to repair the roof at the Bernardston Elementary School.
Dalton Highway Town Hall Bonds/Department Bond/Police Cruiser Bond
Dalton in Berkshire County has 3 Proposition 2 and a half override questions. These include improvements to the town hall, a small excavator and pick-up truck for the highway department, and a new police cruiser.
Great Barrington Community Preservation Act Question
Approval of Question 4 would establish a 3% property tax surcharge for open space and recreational land preservation and restoration of historic resources. Homeowners would have the 1st $100,000 of their property exempt from the surcharge.
Democracy Amendment Question
This is a non-binding question on the ballot in the Berkshire/Hampshire/Franklin/Hampden and the Hampshire/Franklin/Worcester Senate districts in western Massachusetts as well as in some senate districts across the state. The question calls on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to limit campaign contributions and spending as well as reaffirm constitutional protections for people, not corporations.
Budget For All Question
This is a non-binding question in the 5th Hampden, 1st & 3rd Hampshire, and 4th Berkshire districts of the Massachusetts House in western Massachusetts. This question is also on the ballot in a number of other Mass. House and Senate districts across the state, The measure calls on Congress and the President to prevent cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Benefits, and other programs, plus invest in jobs, tax the 1%, and end the wars.
Regulate Marijuana - 2nd Berkshire Question
Voters in the 2nd Berkshire District of the Massachusetts House will decide on a non-binding question that would essentially make marijuana legal. The question asks if the state should regulate and tax marijuana in the same way as alcohol.
Some State Representatives and Senators have no ballot opposition as of this writing.
There is always the chance for a last minute write-in candidate. But for now, those elected officials include:
- U.S. Rep. Richard Neal
- U.S. Rep. James McGovern
- Sen. Ben Downing (D-Berkshire/Hampshire/Franklin/Hampden)
- Sen. Gale Candaras (D-1st Hampden & Hampshire)
- Sen. Michael Knapik (R-2nd Hampden & Hampshire)
- Sen. Stanley Rosenberg (D-Hampshire/Franklin/Worcester)
- Sen. Stephen Brewer (D-Worcester/Hampden/Hampshire/Middlesex)
- Rep. Todd Smola (R-1st Hampden)
- Rep. Don Humason (R-4th Hampden)
- Rep. Thomas Petrolati (D-7th Hampden)
- Rep. Joe Wagner (D-8th Hampden)
- Rep. Cheryl Coakley-Riveria (D-10th Hampden)
- Rep. Peter Kocot (D-1st Hampshire)
- Rep. John Scibak (D-2nd Hampshire)
- Rep. Ellen Story (D-3rd Hampshire)
- Rep. Stephen Kulick (D-1st Franklin)
- Rep. Gailanne Cariddi
- (D-1st Berkshire)