OP-ED: Sen. Brownsberger Discusses Voting by Mail in Mass.

State Sen. Will Brownsberger

The following was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger, who represents Watertown, Belmont and parts of Boston:

Massachusetts voters will have three options in the statewide elections this fall: They will be able to vote early by mail, vote early in person, or vote in person on election day. The Massachusetts Senate passed a bill providing these options (Tuesday, June 16) and the House has already passed a similar bill. Our hope is that final legislation will be on the Governor’s desk very shortly. The new voting options are intended to reduce the risks of transmitting COVID-19. We hope that many voters will choose to vote by mail and avoid physically appearing at the polls.

Candidates for 2 State Rep. Seats Appearing in Online Forum

Watertown is part of two districts in the House of Representatives and both have contested races in 2020. The candidates will appear on an online video forum hosted by Watertown Citizens for Peace, Justice and the Environment. The forum will be held on Zoom and will take place on Sunday, June 7 from 1:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. A link to join the forum will be posted on the group’s website: http://watertowncitizens.org/

“We invite all to join us to hear from the candidates for State Representative as they share their perspectives on Peace, Justice and the Environment,” the announcement from the Watertown Citizens group said. Most of the town, 9 of 12 precincts, is located in the 29th Middlesex District, which also includes parts of Cambridge. State Rep. Jonathan Hecht has announced he is stepping down.

UPDATED PHONE NUMBER: Watertown Library Starting Curbside Pickups This Week!

Watertown Free Public Library

The Watertown Library building remains closed, but its collection will be open to be borrowed using curbside pickup beginning May 11th. The library sent out the following information:

The Watertown Free Public Library will offer curbside pickup of library items for Watertown residents while the library is closed, starting the week of May 11. 

“The library is a lot of things to a lot of people,” said Library Director Leone Cole, “we often talk about how the library is more than just books, but to some people, those books are a lifeline. We know people are struggling mentally and emotionally and we hope that doing this will offer respite and a little extra energy for everyone to stay committed to physical distancing until it is safe to live our lives more publicly again.” 

Curbside pickup will not be “library business as usual”–only items that are currently available in the library can be checked out, no holds can be placed for items at other libraries or items that are already checked out, there’s a limit of five items, and only Watertown residents are eligible for the service. “We’d love to be able to do more,” Cole said, “but it just isn’t possible at this time. We’re working with extremely limited staff and we want to be safe and cautious about how we do this.” 

Placing Orders: Starting Monday, May 11, Watertown residents can call the dedicated curbside pickup line at 857-228-8308 to place an order.

Watertown Rep. Lawn Co-Sponsors Bill to Ensure a Safe 2020 Election

State Rep. John Lawn of Watertown, who represents the 10th Middlesex District. Watertown State Rep. John Lawn is lead co-sponsor for a bill that would call for the state to mail absentee ballots to all voters, would require towns to take safety precautions during early voting and extends the deadline for accepting absentee ballots. The bill, HD.5075, is called “An Act ensuring safe and participatory 2020 state elections in response to COVID-19.” Lawn, who is co-chair of the the Joint Committee on Election Laws, filed the bill with Second Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Michal Moran, of Boston, on Wednesday. In an announcement about the bill from Common Cause Massachusetts, Lawn said:

“COVID-19 presents an unprecedented challenge to our election administration.

Watertown Democrat Jumps into Race for State Representative

Democratic activist and Democratic State Committee member Steve Owens is running for the State Representative seat that Jon Hecht will be leaving. Longtime Democratic activist and Democratic State Committee member Steve Owens announced his candidacy for the 29th Middlesex State House seat representing parts of Cambridge and Watertown.  The primary election will be held on September 1, 2020.   

Owens combines deep experience in his core issues of transportation, climate, and housing with years of dedication to community activism. “I have spent the past 15 years bringing people together to create positive change,” says Owens. “As State Representative, I will work to make Massachusetts a place where we can afford our homes, commute sustainably, reduce our carbon footprint, and raise healthy families.”

With nearly two decades of professional experience as a transportation management consultant, Owens is committed to tackling Massachusetts’ transportation breakdown.  “Our roads are choked,” says Owens. “The MBTA and the commuter rail are not stepping up to the challenge.

Warren Wins Vote in Watertown, Biden Declared Victor in Mass.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren led the vote count for Democrats in Watertown, nearly 600 votes ahead of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, but former Vice President Joe Biden was declared the victor in the statewide vote. A steady stream of voters hit the polls in Watertown for Tuesday’s presidential primary, resulting in a big turnout, but also delaying the release of results. With all 12 precincts reporting Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren had the most votes for Democratic presidential hopefuls, with 3,569 (33.3 percent), Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had 3,030 (28.3 percent), former Vice President Joe Biden had 2,871 (26.8 percent) and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg received 802 votes (7.48 percent). The numbers followed a similar pattern from partial results from Watertown, as of 10:15 p.m.

Across Massachusetts, with 74 percent of precincts reporting, Biden led with 33.5 percent, followed by Sanders’ 27.3 percent, Warren at 20.8 percent and Bloomberg got 11.6 percent. On the Republican side in Watertown, President Donald Trump got 682 votes (83.48 percent) and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld had 113 (13.83 percent).

Super Tuesday: Information About Voting in the Presidential Primary

Massachusetts will be voting in the Super Tuesday, Presidential Primary on March 3, 2020, and polls will be open in Watertown from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Watertown voters can cast ballots in not just for the two major parties, but also the Green Rainbow Party and the Libertarian Party. See more information below. There are 12 precincts in Watertown, which vote in the following locations:

Precinct 1 – Hellenic Cultural Center, 29 Bigelow Ave.Precinct 2 – Hosmer School – 1 Concord RoadPrecinct 3 – Hellenic Cultural Center, 29 Bigelow Ave.Precinct 4 – Phillips School, 30 Common St.Precinct 5 – Phillips School, 30 Common St.Precinct 6 – Hibernian Hall, 151 Watertown St.Precinct 7 – Lowell School, 175 Orchard St.Precinct 8 – Watertown Middle School, 68 Waverley Ave.Precinct 9 – Watertown Middle School, 68 Waverley Ave.Precinct 10 – Watertown Police Station, 552 Main St.Precinct 11 – Cunniff School, 246 Warren St.Precinct 12 – Cunniff School, 246 Warren St. A map of Watertown’s Districts: Peach is A, Red is B, Lime Green is C, Green is D.

Find out where you vote by clicking here and filling out the form. The Ballots

The Democratic ballot has 15 names on it, including the five people officially still in the race for the Democratic nomination.

CANCELLED: Learn About Rank by Choice Voting at Forum in Watertown

The organizers of this event announced on March 13 that they have cancelled it due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The following information was provided by Progressive Watertown:

In 2020, Massachusetts voters will be voting on a ballot measure to decide whether the state should use rank-by-choice voting. A group supporting the passage of the ballot measure will host a meeting on Sunday, March 15 from 3-5 p.m. in Watertown. Learn about what rank-by-choice voting is and how it works at the forum. The event is hosted by Progressive Watertown.