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U.S. Senate, State Legislative Races On Massachusetts Ballots

A voter puts a ballot in a drop box
Paul Tuthill

   Voters have a few more hours to cast ballots in Massachusetts where representatives on Capitol Hill and Beacon Hill will be elected today.

   As polls opened in Massachusetts, voter turnout was already at about 50 percent.  More than 2.3 million ballots had been cast either through the mail, at drop boxes, or by voters in-person during the state’s 14-day early voting period.

   Secretary of State Bill Galvin expects Massachusetts will surpass the 3.3 million votes cast during the 2016 presidential election.  He warned any attempt to interfere with the right to vote won’t be tolerated.

"We will insist that law enforcement take action immediately to make sure the polls remain accessable," said Galvin.

   A coalition of voting rights organizations, that has been keeping an eye on polling locations in Massachusetts, said Tuesday morning that voting was going smoothly, for the most part, with long lines at some locations and wait times up to 30 minutes.  

  After winning the September Democratic primary against U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy III, Massachusetts U.S. Senator Ed Markey is expected to fend off a challenge from Republican Kevin O’Connor, an attorney making his first run for elected office.

  Voters will elect U.S. Representatives in each of the state’s nine congressional districts.  First District Democrat Richard Neal of Springfield is unopposed for a 17th term.  He was scheduled to spend Election Day in New Hampshire getting out the vote for Joe Biden.

  "I think as a matter of principle, I am excited about holding a sign for Joe Biden," said Neal.

   In the 2nd Congressional District, Democrat Jim McGovern of Worcester faces Republican Tracy Lovvorn – a rematch from two years ago which McGovern handily won.

    There are contested races in just eight of the state’s 40 State Senate districts.  In the 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District Democratic State Senator John Velis is running for election to a full two-year term.  He is being challenged by Republican John Cain, who he defeated handily in a special election for the seat just six months ago. 

    Matt Szafranski, editor-in-chief of Western Mass Politics & Insight, looks for Velis to prevail again.

    " John Velis has firm roots in Westfield and that will ultimately decide the election one or the other bccause I don't see Holyoke or Easthampton moving away from a Democrat in any significant numbers, least of all when you have a presidential election with Donald Trump seeking reelection," said Szafranski.

     While there are no open Senate seats in this election, there are a few on the House side from western Massachusetts.

      There is a three-way race in Westfield for the seat that was held by now-Senator Velis.

       In the 7th Hampden District, where Democratic State Rep. Thomas Petrolati is retiring after 34 years, Democrat Jake Oliveira and Republican Chip Harrington are facing off.

       Springfield City Councilor Orlando Ramos, a Democrat, is facing independent Robert Underwood in the 9th Hampden District, where Democratic State Rep Jose Tosado is retiring.

        There are two state-wide ballot questions.   The showdown over Question 1 “Right to Repair” has become the most expensive in state history. The two sides have spent a combined $43 million.

   If Question 2 passes, it will dramatically change how future elections are conducted in Massachusetts by requiring ranked choice voting starting in 2022 when governor and all other statewide offices will be on the ballot.



The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.
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