February 20, 2020
TUESDAY’S PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY – IT’S NOT ONLY ABOUT THE PRESIDENCY!
By Lesley Rebecca Phillips
Next Tuesday, March 3, Massachusetts voters will join their counterparts in over a dozen other states across the country in “Super Tuesday”, the biggest event in the 2020 presidential primary season. Although the vast majority of Cambridge voters have been thinking about the presidential race for weeks if not months, and in many cases have long decided whom to vote for, there are also other compelling reasons to go to the polls next Tuesday:
First, voting IS important. It is the most sacred right – and obligation – of citizens in a democracy. People in many parts of our world still fight – and die – for this privilege. We should never take it lightly.
Secondly, there are two other important components of a presidential primary in Massachusetts. In each state senate district, enrolled voters can elect two district representatives – one male and one female - to their respective parties' State Committees. In the three senate districts that include parts of Cambridge, the majority of these races are being contested this year. But even when uncontested, these are senate district-wide races covering a number of communities, and every vote is important!
There will also be elections for local ward committees in every Cambridge ward. (Again, these are held for each qualified party.) Ward committees form the backbone of our local political organizations, and play a major role in both issue organizing and grassroots campaigning. For those who are interested in getting involved in your local political organization, this is a once-in-four-years opportunity to get in on the ground floor! Here is how you can do that:
Cambridge wards can elect variously from 20-35 members at the Tuesday, March 3 election. In every ward, less names than the number of seats available will appear on your ballots. Open seats can be filled by write-in candidates – in Massachusetts, write-ins must receive at least the number of votes equal to the number of signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot in the first place. For ward committees that qualifying number is just 5, so if there are a lot of open seats in your ward, it can be a fairly simple matter to win one of those seats! (Obviously, if there is a contest, the write-in candidates with the highest votes – up to the number of open seats – will be elected.)
If you are interested in running as a write-in candidate for any Cambridge ward committee, I would recommend that you submit your name prior to the election to the staff at the Cambridge Election Commission (51 Inman Street), so that the election workers in your precincts can be alerted to look for and count your votes. I also suggest that as a courtesy, you contact your local ward chair to introduce yourself and your candidacy. (Contact information for all ward chairs is available at their respective parties’ city and state committee websites, and also from the Election Commission.) This is particularly important as there are vacancies in most committees form time to time – often even immediately after the primary – which can be filled by the committees’ existing memberships from interested applicants.
Finally, if you are “unenrolled” (that’s what we call “independents” here if you are new to Massachusetts), you can vote in any party’s primary by requesting the ballot of your choice when you check in at your polling place, or when you request an absentee ballot. Absentee ballots may be requested until noon on Monday, March 2. The Election Commission office is also open for absentee voting until 5 pm on both Friday, February 28 and Saturday, February 29. Early voting is also available this year for the Presidential Primary, with five special voting locations open from February 24 through February 28, as well as by mail. See https://www.cambridgema.gov/Departments/electioncommission/earlyvoting for additional details.
Vote well and often!
Lesley Rebecca Phillips is a candidate for re-election as Democratic State Committeewoman for the Middlesex & Suffolk Senate District (including Mid- and East Cambridge), and also serves as Chair of the Cambridge Ward 6 Democratic Committee. She may be contacted at either firstname.lastname@example.org or 810-394-1317 with any questions on the topics covered in this commentary.
February 20, 2020
To the Editor:
LESLEY PHILLIPS FOR DEMOCRATIC STATE COMMITTEE
On March 3rd, Massachusetts voters can choose a Presidential candidate, but also our political parties' candidates for State Committee and Ward Committees.
My choice of candidate for Democratic Party Committeewoman is Lesley Rebecca Phillips. She has served as chair of our Ward 6 Committee for many years, and I believe that she is worthy of re-election. Lesley has lead us through yearly meetings, caucuses, and conventions. She keeps our Committee actively engaged in support of candidates and causes that promote progressive values.
At the State level, Lesley (with an almost encyclopedic understanding of Democratic Party rules and procedures), has served on the Democratic State Committee for 12 years with uncommon dedication and vision. She will continue to guide our party in supporting and working for progressive candidates to serve the people of Massachusetts.
Lesley Phillips' progressive leadership in Democratic affairs has earned her my endorsement for Democratic Party Committeewoman. I wholeheartedly endorse her candidacy for the Middlesex & Suffolk District (covering Mid-Cambridge, Harvard Yard, Porter Square, and East Cambridge).
Sara Mae Berman
Former member of the Cambridge School Committee (1976-1984)