Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Sharon officials prepare for next week's Massachusetts primary

SHARON — With less than one week to go before the Massachusetts State Primary, town officials feel confident the democratic expression will run fairly smoothly.

“I think everyone’s fully aware that there’s an election,” Town Clerk Marlene Chused said about the primary on Thursday, Sept. 6. “The only change is the day of the week. No one knew what the old day was.”

Voting will take place at Sharon High School from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

“There’s added traffic- foot traffic and car traffic,” Jose Libano, principal at Sharon High School, said. “The police do a great job to allow school to continue. If it’s not raining, the students park at the lake, and teachers park in the student lot across the street.”

The change in the date is because the election was originally scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 18, but that conflicts with Rosh Hashanah.

“Many Massachusetts voters may think that primary election day has already passed because of March’s presidential primary,” State Sen. Brian Joyce said in a press release. “But Sept. 6 is actually primary day for every race other than president—including important offices like US Senator and Congressman. So while it may not be as high-profile in the news media, this election is certainly very important.”

Joyce is running unopposed in the primary and no Republican got his or her name on the ballot in Joyce’s district consisting of parts of Norfolk, Bristol, and Plymouth counties.

“There is a timeframe for everything we do,” Chused said. “You have to meet all sorts of laws to fit into the window.”

With the only contested races on the ballot are for the six vying for a chance to become a U.S. Representative and four are trying to win a spot on the Governor’s Council. Republican Earl Sholley is running unopposed for the second district Governor’s Council spot.

“September primaries are a little slower,” Chused said. “In the Sept. 2008 primaries, we had 11 percent of the vote (turnout). It’s very hard to pinpoint it.”

Chused said about 80 absentee ballots had already been turned in ahead of the deadline of Wednesday, Sept. 5, at noon. Ballots must also be postmarked by Wednesday to count.

“A lot of students who go to school vote absentee,” Chused said. “If you know you’re going to be out of town, or god forbid if you’re hospitalized, there are reasons to vote absentee.”

Because Gov. Deval Patrick and Lt. Gov. Tim Murray will attend the Democratic National Convention next week, Secretary of State William Galvin will also be the top ranking state official in addition to his election-day duties.

“As an elected official, his job is to do just that,” Chused said. “We have many hats, even on election day.”

For the national election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, Libano said the high school has a half-day.

“Students will come in at 11 a.m.,” Libano said. “It’s not something necessary, but in planning our professional days, we too it into account to make it more convenient for the voters. That’s also a day where we don’t host games or athletic practices.”

Chused said the final date to register to vote in the national election is Wednesday, Oct. 17, and the clerk’s office will be open until 8 p.m. that day.