Friday Last Day to Register For Primary Election |
On: 04:17PM / Tuesday August 14, 2012 ||
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The last day to register to vote or make changes on your party affiliation for the September primary is Friday, Aug. 17.|
But citizens should know that you've only got until 5 p.m. that day in many communities.
The registration deadline is set 20 days before a primary. Normally that falls on a Wednesday but this year's primary is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 6 — putting the last day for registration on a Friday, in August.
Secretary of State William F. Galvin is using a directive under his emergency powers to allow municipal clerks and voter registration boards to close registration three hours earlier than the statutory 8 p.m.
Since many communities have early or no town hall hours on Fridays, they were given the ability to close at 5, said Galvin spokesman Brian McNiff on Tuesday. "The clerks were notified that hours for registering to vote are 9 to 5, however, if a community wishes to stay open until 8 they can."
North Adams City Hall, for example, closes at 1 p.m. on Fridays during the summer; in Clarksburg, the town offices are normally closed on Friday.
North Adams City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau said her office will be open from 8 to 5 on Friday; Adams Town Clerk Haley A. Meczywor's office will also be open until 5.
To ensure you make the registration deadline, call ahead to find out when your town clerk's office will be open.
Those who wish to register or to change their party enrollment can also come in during regular office hours this week, which is 8:30 to 4 in Adams and from 8 to 4:30 in North Adams.
To register, one must be at least age 18 by the date of the election, a U.S. citizen and a resident of the municipality in which you are voting. If you have changed your name, moved to a new town or, in some places, failed to respond to your local census, you will need to re-register.
Absentee ballots are now available; the deadline to request an absentee ballot is noon on Wednesday, Sept. 5. The polls will be open on Thursday, Sept. 6, from 7 to 8 p.m. Voting locations can be found here.
Meczywor also advises persons who sign up at the Registry of Motor Vehicles to bring the receipt with them to the polls. Residents may encounter problems on election day because Registry data is often not transmitted in time to town halls.
Candidates below are listed in the order they will appear on the ballot
U.S. Senator: Elizabeth Warren
Congressman, 1st District: Richard E. Neal, Andrew F. Nuciforo Jr., Bill Shein
Governor's Council: Michael J. Albano, Gerry Roy, Kevin J. Sullivan
State Senator: Benjamin B. Downing
1st Berkshire: Gailanne Cariddi
2nd Berkshire: Paul W. Mark
3rd Berkshire: Tricia Farley-Bouvier
4th Berkshire: William "Smitty" Pignatelli
Clerk of Courts: Deborah S. Capeless
Register of Deeds, Middle District: Patsy Harris, Jody L. Phillips, Scott M. Pignatelli
Berkshire Northern: Frances T. Brooks
Berkshire Southern: No nominations
U.S. Senator: Scott P. Brown
Governor's Council, 8th District: Michael F. Case, Michael Franco
No nominatons for other offices
State Representative, 4th Berkshire: Lee Scott Laugenour
Congressional Debate Schedule Brings Disappointment |
By Joe Durwin On: 11:39PM / Wednesday August 08, 2012 ||
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The three contenders for the 1st Massachusetts District seat expressed stark disagreements this week over the extent of scheduled debates for the upcoming election, which will be decided at the Sept. 6 Democratic primary.|
Candidates Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. and Bill Shein both criticized current 2nd District Rep. Richard Neal this week based on reports he has accepted only two of at least six debate invitations put forth to the candidates over the past several months.
"I am disappointed, but not surprised, that Congressman Neal has chosen to avoid four of the six proposed debates," said Nuciforo in a statement. "He sees the same data we see, and these data show that we have widespread support and solid positions on issues that resonate with voters. Neal knows that this race is neck and neck, and he thinks he will lose fewer votes by declining to attend. By evading debates, the congressman is doing a disservice to voters, and is further eroding faith in our democratic system."
Shein similarly called the decision "disappointing, but not surprising."
"Regardless, we'll continue our substantive campaign about the big changes we need in our politics and economy that I've been advocating for years," said Shein. "At the two debates we are having, I look forward to contrasting my views and very different priorities with the other candidates and wish Rep. Neal well with his very busy schedule."
Neal's campaign maintains that he is not unwilling to debate, and that the candidate readily accepted debate invitations in both Pittsfield and Springfield.
"Congressman Richie Neal always debates his political opponents during election season and this year will be no different," said spokesman Matthew Fenlon in a statement. "In fact, Congressman Neal was the first candidate in this race to accept debates in Springfield and Pittsfield, both of which involve multiple media outlets and are already scheduled."
These debates include a pre-taped studio debate for WGBY public television that is scheduled to air on Aug. 20, and an AM radio debate that may include loose participation by local media outlets. The latter debate, at WBEC in Pittsfield, will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Aug. 30, one week before the election, and will also air on WNAW 1230-AM in North Adams and 860-AM/94.1-FM in Great Barrington, all part of the Berkshire Vox Radio Group.
Nuciforo and Shein, both from the Berkshires, have challenged Neal during the campaign to commit to a debate schedule since early July, and questioned why he has not accepted several offered invitations.
In mid-January, iBerkshires extended an invitation to the three candidates to participate in a debate to be held in Pittsfield, which would be open to the public and media as well as streamed online, and therefore potentially accessible to more residents throughout the entire district than any other media broadcast area.
By Jan. 23, both Shein and Nuciforo had responded affirmatively to these invitations.
Following several follow up emails and phone calls to Neal's office over the four months, iBerkshires received word from Neal's campaign on June 2 that it was "currently receiving many debate requests and will be back in touch as we finalize the Congressman's scheduled for the summer." Continued queries in late June and through July received similar responses.
Invitations for a planned debate Aug. 27 organized by the Pittsfield Gazette and Pittsfield Community Television at Berkshire Community College initially sent out in May never received a response, according to Gazette editor Jonathan Levine.
"I think Neal would prefer to debate at 7:45 at night, on Sept. 6," Shein told iBerkshires last month with regards to the candidate's lack of clear response to debate requests.
"If Congressman Neal believes so strongly in the importance of debating, then why has he declined the majority of debates?" asked Nuciforo, who sent a letter challenging Neal to commit to a debate schedule in early July.
Neal's campaign disputed this Wednesday, pointing to a misunderstanding over the logistics of the scheduled WBEC debate on Aug. 30. Fenlon told iBerkshires that sometime after its debate request, it received one from WBEC, which it accepted on the understanding that the other local media outlets who had proposed debates would be included.
"They gave us the impression that they had already worked it out with everyone," said Fenlon.
It was only after controversy had already erupted in local press Wednesday, however, that announcement of this debate was sent to those media outlets, in a mid-day release from WBEC's Larry Kratka. According to the Kratka, the debate will feature some measure of involvement by some local media organizations, in that it will be recorded and aired sometime later on PCTV, and feature some questions by iBerkshires Editor Tammy Daniels.
"We've had no communication whatsoever from Congressman Neal's office," said Levine. The Gazette will not be covering the radio event, he said, as the Thursday, Aug. 30, timing of the event makes it impractical to cover for a paper that comes out on Thursday.
"Thursday night before an election is basically pointless for the purposes of any weekly newspaper," said Levine.
Fenlon declined to comment on any of the other debate requests around the district, beyond the official statement above. These include invitations from WWLP22-News, Westfield News Group, and New England Public Radio. He also declined to speculate on why Rep. Neal had agreed only to two closed-studio interviews, but did say the congressman will be making additional public appearances with opportunities for questions over the next month.
"I'm a little disappointed that there's no debate open to the public," Levine, who has been responsible for most of the major local political debates for Pittsfield and Berkshire area-wide elections in recent decades. "I always think candidates should do something where people can come in person and see them."
Editor's Note: The Berkshire News Network has frequently included us in its local election debates and we have shared access to those we have hosted with the radio network.
Berkshire News Network Hosting Primary Debates |
Berkshire News Network On: 09:38PM / Wednesday August 08, 2012 ||
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Vox Berkshire Radio Group's Berkshire News Network will host two important election debates at the end of August. |
Larry Kratka, news director of the radio group, announced on Wednesday that the network will hold two hourlong debates for candidates for Middle Berkshire register of deeds and for the 1st Massachusetts congressional district. Both debates are in advance of the Sept. 6 Democratic primary that will essentially determine the winner of the general election in November.
The first debate will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 29, on "News/Talk" AM-1420 WBEC from 11 to noon between the three candidates for the Middle Berkshire Registry of Deeds: Patsy Harris, Jody Phillips and Scott Pignatelli.
Kratka will moderate and questions will be posed to the candidates by Berkshire News Network newsman Tom Conklin and Tammy Daniels from iBerkshires.com. The debate will be rebroadcast on Friday, Aug. 31, at 9 a.m. on 860-AM/94.1-FM WSBS in Great Barrington. This debate will also be recorded by PCTV for playback before the primary.
On Thursday, Aug. 30, Vox radio stations AM-1420 WBEC in Pittsfield, AM-1230 WNAW in North Adams and 860-AM/94.1-FM in Great Barrington will host the last debate between the three congressional candidates for the newly redrawn 1st Congressional District.
Richard E. Neal of Springfield, currently U.S. representative for the 2nd Mass District; Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. of Pittsfield, Middle Berkshire register of deeds; and Bill Shein of Alford, a political activist and writer, will face each other in a 60-minute primetime debate from 6 to 7 p.m. The simulcast debate will cover all of Berkshire County and originate from the flagship station, AM-1420 WBEC in Pittsfield and be broadcast on 860-AM/94.1-FM WSBS in Great Barrington and 1230-AM WNAW in North Adams.
Kratka will moderate and questions will be posed to the candidates by Tom Conklin and Tammy Daniels from iBerkshires.com. The congressional debate also will be recorded by PCTV for playback before the Sept. 6 election.
Teachers Associations Endorse Neal For Congress |
Neal Campaign On: 11:56AM / Tuesday August 07, 2012 ||
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The two teacher unions serving Massachusetts — American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts and Massachusetts Teachers Association — have both endorsed Richard E. Neal, U.S. representative for the 2nd Mass District, for re-election to Congress.|
"I am honored to once again receive the endorsement from the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Teachers Association," said Neal, who is running in the newly redrawn 1st Mass District. "As a longtime teacher and member of the MTA, I know firsthand the joys and challenges that come with the classroom. We all know children are our future and we can thank teachers for instilling academics and life lessons in our next generation of leaders."
"We are recommending Congressman Neal because of his deep and lasting commitment to students and public education," said Paul Toner, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association. "Because of his background as a teacher, he understands the issues that educators face each day. Congressman Neal can be counted on to do what is best for our students and for our public schools, colleges and universities."
"Congressman Neal is a strong supporter of quality education for all public school students," said Tom Gosnold, president of AFT Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Teachers Association has 107,000 members statewide, coming from more than 400 local affiliates.
American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, represents 1.5 million members nationwide, including 25,000 in Massachusetts. In addition to teachers, members include support personnel, bus drivers, custodians, and secretaries.
Warren Rallies Supporters at Pittsfield Headquarters |
By Andy McKeever On: 09:03PM / Sunday August 05, 2012 ||
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The message hasn't changed in more than a year on the campaign trail for U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren and she vowed to local Democrats on Sunday to keep "fighting" even after the November election.
Warren greeted, took photos and signed autographs for everyone in attendance.
Warren is at odds with incumbent Sen. Scott Brown, R-Wrentham, in regards to the economy. While he is emphasizing the private sector, Warren is emphasizing public infrastructure.
"The Republicans say that the way to build a future is to cut taxes for those who have the most, to reduce regulations for the Wall Street companies that broke the economy," Warren said after addressing nearly 100 supporters in her Wahconah Street headquarters. "I'm out here arguing that the way to build a future is that we make the investment in education, in basic infrastructure, in research, in the things that help create a future for ourselves and for our children. This is really about priorities."
Warren said the investment in education, infrastructure and science is affordable but that it requires removing tax breaks from companies that ship jobs or hide their money overseas or oil companies.
"Washington is working for those who can hire an army of lobbyist. It's not right," Warren said.
In a 15-minute address to her supporters, she recalled her family history of going from "the daughter of a maintenance man to a professor at Harvard law school." And that history in public education and child care to eventually getting a "good job offer," is what she fears fewer and fewer people can achieve.
"I grew up in an America that invested in kids. I grew up in an America that expanded opportunity and I fear that America has turned away from that and if we turn away from that, we become fundamentally different people," Warren said.
That has changed, she said, with only 2.4 percent of the country's gross domestic product being put into infrastructure, public university tuition and fees growing by more than 300 percent in 30 years and medical research being cut in half in the last 30 years.
|Counterclockwise from top: Warren addresses supporters; a motorcyclists asks for a bumper sticker from campaign volunteers; local politicians stand behind Warren for an interview with TV news.
Warren characterized the goal as a matter of "priorities" by placing the money the country has in three boxes. One box is investing public dollars in private business and "lobbyists," another for the national debt and the third for infrastructure, science and education. She said she'll shift the spending from the "lobbyist" box and place it in the others.
Her campaign has been based on "working families" and investment since last April when she announced her candidacy. One of her last stops before officially announcing was at the law office of Sherwood Guernsey, where local democratic leaders told her they'd support her.
On Sunday, she recalled that visit during a question-and-answer session and thanked her supports for living up to their word.
"We started this campaign in Pittsfield. Now we have an office, we've got volunteers all over the county. They're knocking on doors, they're making phone calls, talking to people in grocery stores and sandwich shops. Ultimately that's what this campaign is about. It's person to person," Warren said after the event.
At that kick off meeting she acknowledged that campaigning would be taxing. More than a year in, she said "I'm holding up great."
The "optimism" and support she said she's received across the state has kept her going and she vowed that she will continue fighting for her supporters even after the election.
"It's the fundamental optimism that drives you every single day. I am out there because I truly believe that there are enough of us here and if we push hard enough, we can make this the country we believe in," Warren said. "I will be out there every single day. I will be out there fighting every step of the way. But don't kid yourself, big money is not going to back down easy."
Also in attendance were U.S. Rep. John W. Olver, D-Amherst, Sheriff Thomas Bowler, North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright and state Reps. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, D-Pittsfield, and Paul Mark, D-Peru.
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|U.S. Senate Election
The state is holding a special election to fill the seat vacated by John F. Kerry, who has been confirmed as U.S. secretary of state.
The special election is scheduled for Tuesday, June 25, from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.
The nominees, as listed on the ballot, are:
Gabriel E. Gomez, Republican
Edward J. Markey, Democrat
Richard A. Heos, Twelve Visions Party
The last day to register to vote in the election is Wednesday, June 5.
You may vote absentee: if you will be absent from your town or city on election day, have a physical disability that prevents you from voting at the polls or cannot vote at the polls because to religious beliefs.
Absentee ballots are available at town and city clerk offices until noon on June 24.
Election 2009 Stories
2010 Special Senate Election Results