WINCHESTER - To quote New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, “On to November.”
With the September state primary officially in the rearview, Winchester voters now look to the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Unfortunately, outside of the presidential election, there doesn’t seem like a lot off drama in this year’s races.
Obviously, President Donald Trump battling former Vice President Joe Biden for the highest office in the land carries a lot of weight (and due to the number of expected mail-in ballots, voters might not find out the results on election night) and should make for dramatic TV viewing for those interested. But when it comes to more localized races, residents might not have to wait long to find out the winners.
For State Senator and State Representative, none of the incumbents on the ballot, all Democrats, have a Republican challenger. No one chose to run on the Republican side of the ballot for those seats (two State Senate seats, one for percents 1-3 and 8 and one for precincts 4-7, and one State Representative seat).
For US Senate and US Representative, although both incumbents face challengers, neither is expected to actually be challenged. Both current US Senator Ed Markey and US Congresswoman Katherine Clark should have little difficulty retaining their seats in a state known for electing liberal public officials.
One challenger, though, is known to residents of the area as a member of the Stoneham Board of Selectman. She also ran against State Rep. Michael Day twice for the seat he currently occupies. But, for Caroline Colarusso, who looks to unseat US Congresswoman Clark, her chances hinge on convincing voters, especially those outside her hometown of Stoneham, she’s the better candidate.
Sen. Markey’s opponent, meanwhile, Republican Kevin O’Connor, from Dover, is most likely unknown to area residents, so he’ll have to work twice as hard if he hopes to unseat the well-liked and respected current US Senator.
Residents who aren’t registered to vote must do so by Saturday, Oct. 24. The deadline to vote by mail for the general election is Wednesday, Oct. 28. Residents can vote in person at either the Muraco, McCall, Vinson-Owen, or Lynch schools. Polls will open from 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Voting by mail will run similar to this past state primary election. However, because the turnout could double the 42 percent who participated in the state primary, voters shouldn’t wait to submit their ballots. Residents should also consider early voting to avoid potential long lines at polling places on Nov. 3.
Deadline for ballots to be returned and counted is Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. for the presidential election. These ballots must be dropped off at Town Hall in the red drop boxes at the front entrance. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by the Town Clerk by 5 p.m. on Nov. 6.
Because the postal service is not consistent and deliveries can range from three to 11 days, the Town Clerk recommends voters return their ballots in the red drop boxes outside the front entrance to Town Hall not later than 8 p.m. on election day to ensure it arrives back in town to count.
For early voting for the presidential election, residents have from Saturday, Oct. 17 until Friday, Oct. 30 to cast their ballot. Voting times are similar to the primary election: Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 12 p.m., Monday until 7 p.m. and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday until 4 p.m.
According to the Town Clerk, no more than five voters will be allowed in Town Hall to vote early at all times.