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Massachusetts Primaries Today

MIT Students Display Little Interest in Statewide, Local Races

By Lakshmi Nambiar

Primary elections for several local and state elections are being held today, but student voters at MIT showed little interest.

There are two local primaries in Cambridge, one for the state representative from the Eighth District of Suffolk County and the other for the Suffolk, Middlesex, and Essex County state senate seat. At the state level, there are three primaries, for governor, lieutenant governor and treasurer. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“I did not know there was a primary tomorrow,” said Simon Halpern ’04 yesterday. “I have to finish a book tonight and I’ll get to politics when I get around to it.”

Others who were unaware of the primary regretted not being registered to vote. “I didn’t know there was a primary tomorrow, but if I did, I would have registered to vote,” said Amy R. Wu ’06.

Registering impacts residency

Massachusetts rules for residency tend to limit student participation in elections. Registering to vote in Boston or Cambridge automatically makes one a state resident for voting purposes, and students should be careful to check if the residency change might have impact for scholarships or financial aid.

“Since I’m from California and I plan to live there later, I’m just registered there and I plan to vote there,” said Ash C. Dyer ’06.

For some students, politics just seems irrevelant in their busy lives. “I knew a primary was coming up, but I didn’t know it was tomorrow,” said Leslie M. Rozeboom ’06. “I think most students don’t know what’s going on in politics because it doesn’t seem to directly affect them. Here in college, MIT seems to set all the regulations and policies, not the government.”

Except for Sidney-Pacific and Random Hall residents, registered voters living in on-campus housing can vote at Kresge Auditorium. Sidney-Pacific residents can vote at Morse School, 40 Granite Street, and Random Hall residents can vote at LBJ Apartment, 150 Erie Street.

Some students politically active

The Massachusetts Coordinated Campaign is looking for volunteers to distribute literature at the polls tomorrow. “Our goal is to educate students about the link between politics and science, said Michelle K. Nyein ’04, president of the MIT College Democrats. “We encourage students to be politically active and work on campaigns, but we do not endorse specific candidates.”

The MIT College Republicans are not planning any specific activities for tomorrow’s primary, but they will be running a voter registration drive leading up to the November elections, said Jolene M. Singh ’05.

Primary candidates face off

For the Democratic state representative primary, the two candidates are incumbent Paul Demakis and Cambridge city councilor Marjorie Decker.

The three senate candidates include Cambridge state representative Jarrett Barrios, Cambridge city councilor Anthony Galluccio, and Everett alderman Carlo DeMaria.

For the state level primaries, the Democratic Party has three contested primaries: governor, lieutenant governor, and treasurer. The Republican Party has two, lieutenant governor and treasurer.

Mitt Romney will be the GOP nominee for governor, being unopposed for the nomination. For the Democratic nomination, the four candidates are state treasurer Shannon O’Brien, former U.S. Labor secretary Robert Reich, former state senator Warren Tolman, and state senate president Tom Birmingham.

For lieutenant governor, the three Democratic candidates include venture capitalist Chris Gabrieli, former state senator Lois Pines and state representative John Slattery. The two Republican candidates are former party chairwoman Kerry Healey and former party chairman Jim Rappaport.

For treasurer, the Democratic candidates are Norfolk County treasurer Tim Cahill, state representative Mike Cahill, Boston city councilor Steve Murphy and former state representative Jim Segel. The two Republican candidates are former registrar of motor vehicles Dan Grabauskas and businessman Bruce Herzfelder.