Massachusetts voters are facing the choice of returning the governor’s office to Democratic hands while also weighing ballot questions including one that would raise taxes on individuals earning more than a million dollars.
If elected, Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey would become the state’s first woman and first openly gay candidate — and the nation’s first openly lesbian candidate — to be elected governor.
Healey — elected eight years ago as the nation’s first openly gay attorney general — would also snap what’s become known in Massachusetts as the “curse of the attorney general.”
Since 1958, six former Massachusetts attorneys general have sought the governor’s office. All failed. During the campaign, the 51-year-old has said she would expand job training programs, make child care more affordable and modernize schools and protect “access to safe and legal abortion in Massachusetts” in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade.”
Trump-backed candidate Geoff Diehl is hoping to keep the office in GOP hands. Republican Gov. Charlie Baker isn’t seeking a third term. The GOP has retained control of the office since 1991 with the exception of two terms under Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick.
The 53-year old former state representative pledged to impose fiscal discipline in state government, empower parents, and get tough on crime. He also pushed a ballot question that would repeal a new state law allowing immigrants in the country illegally to obtain drivers licenses in Massachusetts.
In another closely watched race, former Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell could become the state’s first Black woman elected attorney general if she defeats Republican Jay McMahon.
Neither of the state’s two Democratic U.S. senators are up for reelection this year. The nine Democratic incumbent U.S. House members are expected to win reelection. Democrats currently also hold all statewide offices, except for governor and lieutenant governor, and overwhelming majorities in the Massachusetts House and Senate.
Here’s a look at what to expect on election night:
Polls close at 8 p.m. ET.
HOW MASSACHUSETTS VOTES
Massachusetts voters may request a “no-excuse” absentee mail ballot, vote early in-person (through Nov. 4), or vote in person on Election Day, Nov. 8, at their local polling stations. Early vote by mail ballots can be returned by hand delivery to the town clerk, or by delivery to an in-person early voting location and-or drop box, or they can be mailed. Mail ballots will be accepted up to 5 p.m. Saturday Nov. 12 if they are postmarked by Nov. 8.
Early in-person voting began Oct. 22.
To make access to voting easier, Massachusetts has made permanent some of the changes to its voting laws that were introduced during the pandemic.
Most Massachusetts voters have embraced early voting. In 2020, during the height of the pandemic, out of about 3.6 million ballots cast overall in Massachusetts in the general election, about 2.4 million votes were cast in advance.
There are approximately 4.8 million registered voters in Massachusetts. As of Oct. 28, about 1.1 million absentee ballots already had been sent to voters who requested them, and some 526,000 votes had been cast in advance, either by mail ballot or by early in-person voting. The number was expected to increase sharply by Election Day.
All advance votes received up to Nov. 7 are pre-processed, sorted and then counted as part of the normal Election Day tabulation that begins after polls close on Nov. 8. Mail-in ballots received on Nov. 8, or postmarked by Nov. 8 but received by Nov. 12, will be tabulated after the Election Day results. Because most advance voting is counted together with in-person votes on Election Day, there is little perceptible difference in the results between the election night tabulation and those votes that arrive later and are counted during the week after Election Day.
Massachusetts voters have the option to vote early by mail in all elections, with no excuse required. Voters who want to cast their ballots by mail first need to submit an application by mail or online to receive a ballot.
In 2020, mail-in voting proved enormously popular in Massachusetts with nearly 42 percent of those who voted taking advantage of the option.
The state has also expanded the use of early, in-person voting options. During the 2020 election, more than 23 percent visited early-voting centers. Slightly more than 35 percent of voters cast ballots on Election Day, less than 1 percent of absentee ballots were rejected — about 20,000 total ballots. More than a quarter of those were because the voter had already voted in person.
Mail-in votes aren’t counted in Massachusetts until Election Day.
While voters aren’t required to show a photo ID, they may be asked to show some form of identification for a handful of reasons including if they are voting for the first time in a state or federal election, are an inactive voter, or if a poll worker has a reasonable suspicion that leads them to request identification.
The AP may call a statewide or U.S. House race in which the margin between the top two candidates is 0.5% or less, if we determine the lead is too large for a recount to change the outcome. Massachusetts has no automatic recount law. Candidates for state and district offices may request a recount within 10 days of an election of the margin is less that 0.5% of votes cast.
The AP will not call down-ballot races on election night if the margin between the top two candidates is less than 2% or if the leading candidate is within 2% of the 50% runoff threshold. AP will revisit those races later in the week to confirm there aren’t enough outstanding votes left to count that could change the outcome.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW?
Q: HOW LONG DOES COUNTING USUALLY TAKE?
Results usually are known in the early hours of the day after election night, although in the past there have been cases where problems arose to delay tabulation in a few precincts or towns.
Check out https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the issues and factors at play in the 2022 midterm elections. Follow AP’s coverage of the elections at: https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections