This fall, Needham residents will join citizens across the country in selecting—or re-electing—the next President of the United States, as well as picking a state senator and state representative. While November may seem far away, it will be here before you know it, and the various campaigns will be busy over the summer meeting with voters and sharing their platforms in articles, public speeches, TV commercials and other ways.
With all that in mind, Needham Patch is kicking off the election season with an early look at the races Needham will be voting on this fall. Below is a quick guide to the 2012 State Election—the first piece of content on Needham Patch’s 2012 Election Guide landing page. Look for more articles, press releases, announcements and events to be added to the page as the election season heats up.
Got something to say? See below for details about submitting letters to the editor, editorials and blogs.
Election Dates and Deadlines
If you have recently moved or just haven’t registered to vote in your current town, now is the time to do so if you want to help decide the nation’s next President, among other races. The last day to register to vote or change party enrollment before the State Primary is Friday, Aug. 17. The Needham Town Clerk’s Office is open extended hours on registration deadline days, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., for voter registration.
For more information about voting, visit needhamma.gov/townclerk and click on “Voter Registration and Information” in the left column.
The 2012 State Primary will be held on Thursday, Sept. 6. Local polls are typically open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. For absentee voting information, visit the Town Clerk’s Office on the first floor of or call the office at 781-455-7510.
The last day to register to vote in the 2012 State Election, which includes the Presidential race, is Wednesday, Oct. 17. Again, the Town Clerk’s Office will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. to accommodate last-minute voter registration.
The State Election/Presidential Election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
2012 State/Federal Races
Most of the deadlines have passed for candidates to submit nomination papers to run for state or federal offices in 2012. Here’s a look at the races Needham will help decide:
---U.S. President—No surprise here if you’ve kept an eye on the news at all. President and Democratic candidate will be running for a second four-year term alongside Vice President Joe Biden, while challenger and former will look to bring his party, the Republicans, back to the White House.
---Massachusetts U.S. Senator—After winning the seat of the late Ted Kennedy during a special election in 2010, Republican Senator Scott Brown will be back on the ballot this fall as he looks to pick up his first full six-year term. The Wrentham resident will go up against , of Cambridge.
---Massachusetts U.S. Representative, Fourth Congressional District—This fall will mark the first time Needham residents vote as part of the Fourth District, as and redistricting that followed. Previously, the town was part of the Ninth Congressional District, led by Stephen Lynch—who as part of his Congress on the Corner program.
Now, Needham is part of the Fourth District, led by Democratic State Rep. Barney Frank, who has decided not to run for re-election. Several candidates have stepped up to run for his seat, including:
- of North Quincy, a self-described LaRouche Democrat
- of Brookline
- of Newton
- of Brookline
- of Norfolk
- of Fall River
The final two challengers will be decided in the September primary and will face off in the Nov. 6 State Election.
---Governor’s Council, Second District—With of longtime Second District Governor’s Council member Kelly Timilty, the Second District seat will be open in the fall election. Several people are running to fill it, including:
- of Hyde Park
- of Milton
- Patrick McCabe of Hyde Park
- Bart Timilty of Boston
- Earl Sholley of Norfolk
What does a member of the Governor’s Council do? According to the state website, mass.gov:
The Massachusetts Governor's Council, also known as the Executive Council, is composed of eight individuals elected from districts, and the Lt. Governor who serves ex officio. The eight councillors are elected from their respective districts every two years. The Council generally meets to act on such issues as payments from the state treasury, criminal pardons and commutations, and approval of gubernatorial appointments; such as judges, notaries and justices of the peace.
-- Representative in General Court (State Representative), 13th Norfolk District—Elected every two years during even years, all Massachusetts State Representative seats will be up this fall. Needham’s current state rep., , has announced plans to seek re-election to the 13th Norfolk District seat. Garlick is a Democrat and a Needham resident. Currently, no challengers are listed on the State Elections Division website.
--- Senate in General Court (State Senator), Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District—Massachusetts State Senators are also elected every two years, which means both of Needham's two senators may be running for re-election this fall. With redistricting following the 2010 Federal Census, Needham is now split between two senate districts. Precincts A, B, C, I and J are part of the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District, which is represented by State Senator Richard Ross, a Republican from Wrentham. Ross is seeking re-election. Currently, no challengers are listed on the State Elections Division website.
---Senate in General Court (State Senator), Norfolk and Suffolk District—Precincts D, E, F, G and H are now part of the Norfolk and Suffolk District and are represented by Michael Rush, a Democrat from West Roxbury who is running for re-election. Currently, no challengers are listed on the State Elections Division website.
---Clerk of Courts, Norfolk County—Current Norfolk County Clerk of Courts Walter Timilty, a Milton Democrat, is running for re-election. Currently, no challengers are listed on the State Elections Division website.
---Register of Deeds—Norfolk County Register of Deeds William O'Donnell, a Democrat form Norwood, is seeking re-election. Currently, no challengers are listed on the State Elections Division website.
---County Commissioner, Norfolk County—The seats of two of the three Norfolk County Commissioners are up in the 2012 State Election, and both have plans to run for re-election. The incumbents, both Democrats, are John Gillis of Quincy and Francis O'Brien of Dedham. Currently, no challengers are listed on the State Elections Division website.
Massachusetts Ballot Initiatives
Of 31 initiatives put forth for the fall ballot, only four so far have collected enough signatures and been certified by Attorney General Martha Coakley to make it on the ballot by the July 3 deadline. While a public schools initiative may be settled before then, these three ballot questions will likely be brought to the voters:
- A Law for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana: This initiative seeks to legalize the use and cultivation of marijuana as a medical drug. It calls for no penalties for "qualifying patients, physicians and health care professionals, personal caregivers for patients, or medical marijuana treatment center agents for the medical use of marijuana."
- An Act Relative to Death with Dignity: This initiative would allow physicians to prescribe medication to terminally ill patients that would end their lives. The act would require that patients are mentally capable of making this decision and orally communicating it to a doctor on two occasions 15 days apart. Participation by a doctor or health care facility would be voluntary.
- An Act to Protect Motor Vehicle Owners and Small Businesses in Repairing Motor Vehicles: This initiative would require all car manufacturers to provide—on an equitable fair-market value subscription basis —all diagnostic and repair information for model years beginning in 2015 to owners or an owner’s designated in-state independent repair facility (not affiliated with a manufacturer or its authorized dealers). The law would also make available for purchase information for model years 2002 through 2014.
Talk Politics on Needham Patch!
Whether you’re a candidate announcing a bid or to Needham, a local writer who loves talking politics or a resident who wants to express support for a candidate or issue, the place to do it is on Needham Patch.
---Candidates can submit press releases directly to Needham Patch by first creating a free user account, which gives you the ability to share news and comments on any Patch across the country, every time you log in. Post press releases about upcoming events, initiatives and campaign updates through the Announcements page, and post local events to the Calendar.
---Letters to the Editor from Needham residents can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org on any subject—just include “2012 Election Letter” in the subject line. All letters must have the writer’s full name and local address and a contact phone number for verification purposes. Only the name and street will be posted on Patch. Letters should keep to 400 words or less—longer letters may be published as guest columns; contact Needham Patch Editor Becca Manning for information. Letters will be accepted up to one week before the relevant election or primary. Questions? Call Becca at 781-217-4233.
---Blog! Needham Patch is looking for local residents who are interested in writing about political issues, whether it’s the 2012 State Election races, ballot initiatives or ongoing issues. Write as much as you like as often as you want, on any subject that piques your interest. For more information, see or contact Editor . Or just visit the Local Voices page to get started.
Check back with Needham Patch throughout the 2012 election season for updates on political races and ballot initiatives. Bookmark the Needham Patch 2012 Election Guide and look for updates often.