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Voting in Massachusetts: What to know for the midterm elections

Where to and when, major races and ballot questions, and more

Boston Globe via Getty Images

The midterm elections are here, with myriad Massachusetts offices all the way up to governor on the ballot. Here is what you need to know.

When to vote

The deadline for registering to vote in Massachusetts has already passed, but the good news is that the commonwealth has early voting. Residents can vote early from October 22 through November 2. You do not need an excuse nor an ID.

You can also vote via mail-in ballot and on Election Day itself, of course, on November 6.

Where to vote

To find out where you can vote and between what times—and where to send mail-in ballots—check out this handy website. Questions about voting in general can be directed to the state’s Elections Division at 1-800-462-VOTE (8683).

Also, to find out where you can vote on Election Day itself—and to get the contact information for local elections officials—click here.

The major races

Governor. Incumbent Republican Charlie Baker is facing off for a second term against Democratic nominee Jay Gonzalez, who served as secretary of administration and finance in under former Gov. Deval Patrick.

Lieutenant governor. Incumbent Republican Karyn Polito is running for a second term against Democrat Quentin Palfrey, an attorney and policymaker.

U.S. senator. Incumbent Democrat Elizabeth Warren is running for a second term against Geoff Diehl, a Republican member of the Massachusetts House from Plymouth, and Shiva Ayyahurai, an entrepreneur running as an independent.

Attorney general. Incumbent Democrat Maura Healy is facing GOP challenger Jay McMahon, an attorney, for a second term.

Secretary of State. Democrat Bill Galvin is running for his sixth term. He faces Republican Anthony Amore, director of security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Green-Rainbow nominee Juan Sanchez.

State treasurer. Democrat Deborah Goldberg is running for a second term against Republican Keiko Orral, a member of the Massachusetts House from Bristol County, and Green-Rainbow nominee Jamie Guerin.

U.S. House. There are general elections in all nine of Massachusetts’ congressional districts (as there are in every congressional district nationwide). But only one is really competitive: The Massachusetts 2nd, which covers much of central Mass. There, incumbent Democrat Jim McGovern is running against Republican Tracy Lovvorn and independent Paul Grady.

Incidentally, the most covered congressional race in Massachusetts so far has been the Democratic primary in the 7th, which covers much of Boston as well as all of Everett and portions of Somerville and Chelsea. There, Boston City Councilwoman Ayanna Pressley defeated 10-term incumbent Mike Capuano. Pressley is running unopposed in the general.

What are the statewide ballot questions?

There are three questions on every Massachusettan’s ballot.

Question 1. This would dictate how many patients a nurse could be assigned at one time in Massachusetts hospitals or other facilities. A yes vote limits the number of patients, and a no vote would make no legal changes regarding patient-nurse ratios.

Question 2. This deals with creating a citizens’ commission to recommend potential amendments to the federal Constitution aimed at reversing Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, a 2010 Supreme Court decision that altered decades-old rules governing campaign finance and is generally blamed/credited with opening up wider use of corporate money in politics. A yes vote would create the commission. A no vote would not.

Question 3. This deals with state protections in public accommodations based on gender identity. A yes vote would retain such protections against discrimination. A no vote would repeal the protections.

What are some local ballot questions worth noting?

A Question 4 on the ballot in Belmont will ask residents of that town whether they support funding its portion of a $295 million school for seventh through 12th grade. The state School Building Authority has agreed to cover $80 million, leaving the town on the hook via property taxes for $215 million.

In Needham, residents will be asked to help pay for new police and fire stations for the town through an additional $388 per year of property tax on an average single-family home.

Barbara Kalbfleisch/Shutterstock

What to do with your phone while voting

Put it away! It’s illegal in Massachusetts to photograph your ballot. Save the civic selfie (civfie?) for when you have one of those snazzy “I voted!” stickers.