Preliminary Election Scrapped

September 7, 2011
By

The Sept. 13 Preliminary Election has officially been called off by City and State officials this week.

The cancellation had been approved by Revere City Councillors early last month, and the measure had been sent to the State House for final approval.

Last Friday, news of that approval landed in Revere.

“The preliminary election is officially cancelled as per Governor Deval Patrick, who signed the bill on Sept. 1st,” said Election Commissioner Diane Colella. “We got notice of it on Sept. 2nd.”

The Preliminary Election was also cancelled by an act of the Legislature in the last City Election, which was 2009.

The current cancellation will mean that 11 at-large City Council candidate will appear on the November ballot. A Preliminary Election would have eliminated only one of the 11 candidates, leaving 10 on the November ballot.

The cancellation also leads to candidates not having to submit campaign finance reports, which were due this past Tuesday, Sept. 6th.

Colella said several candidates had already turned in those reports, but they were not required.

The next date for required campaign finance reports is Oct. 31st, just before the election.

So far, most candidates and incumbents for the at-large office had no major problems with the election being cancelled.

One of the major beefs, however, was that ballots had already been printed for the election, most likely eating into the often-quoted $50,000 in savings.

“Although I would have welcomed the additional feedback from voters and the exchange of ideas that a preliminary election would have provided, I think it was an appropriate decision to cancel it,” said Candidate Brian Arrigo. “Elected officials are the custodians of the taxpayer’s money, and to spend approximately $50,000 to eliminate only one candidate would not have been a good investment. However, with preliminary ballots already printed, I also believe the timing of the preliminary election cancellation cut into some of the savings and was unfair to the voters, the candidates and the Election Board.”

Councillor Tony Zambuto said it was good news for the City, even though he would have had an advantage on the ballot.

“It’s good for the city to save $45,000 or more, although it would have been nice to be the first name on the ballot,” he said.

Said Candidate Victoria Laws, “My overall feeling is that it’s a waste of the City’s money to have a primary to eliminate just one candidate. Given the condition of the economy, there are countless other places the money could be better spent. I have spoken to many residents in the course of campaigning and I definitely feel that the majority of residents would prefer to see the money go to fixing the potholes in front of their houses, trimming back trees, and public safety.”

Candidate Michael Carter said that the entire situation has pushed him towards wanting to get a charter change to fix the preliminary election process.

“I still hope for a charter change,” he said. “If this one was too expensive when times are tough, they are too expensive when times are good. I say cancel all future primaries and raise the signature limit for mayor and at-large.”

Candidate Bill Bell said he was disappointed that campaign finance reports won’t be required.

“I am sure that as usual some opponents committees took money from Oil Company interests and that is why they don’t advocate for stronger protection for Revere residents concerning shipping millions of gallons of Ethanol on trains through Revere,” he said.

The final election will occur on Tuesday, Nov. 8th.

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