Happening Today

Election Day

Today is Election Day as the majority of Massachusetts voters head to voting booths to make their final decisions on presidential, Congressional, legislative and local candidate races, as well as on four statewide ballot questions and local ballot questions in Massachusetts.

Today’s Stories

MASSterList dares to predict

For what it’s worth, here’s our predictions on some of the major election contests today. Why not? Gotta go out on a limb sometimes. Besides, you get to make fun of us if, or when, we prove to be spectacularly wrong. Quick note first: These don’t reflect our views on candidates and issues, merely how we see things playing out.

Getting the somewhat easier ones out of the way first: No on Question 1, yes on Questions 3 and 4, and Kelly Ayotte wins in New Hampshire.

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Now for the coin-toss biggies – the presidential race, Question 2 and whether Dems win a majority in the U.S. Senate.

The presidential race — We can easily see three scenarios for tonight: a Clinton landslide, a nail-biter Clinton win, and a Trump upset of epic proportions. But you have to go with a combination of poll averages and the gut – and that says Clinton in a tight race, though it’s amazing how close Trump has made it in so many key battleground states. One can’t discount the possibility of a “Dewey Defeats Truman” moment.

Question 2 — The polls have been all over the map. But our hunch is that suburban voters will indeed come down against Question 2, which would expand the number of charter schools in the state. We’ll see. It’s going to be close either way.

U.S. Senate — Trump’s late-stage surge, partly thanks to good old Anthony Weiner making a cameo appearance in the final weeks of the campaign, has helped down-ticket Republicans, enough for the GOP to hang on to a majority in the Senate.

From DeflateGate to EndorseGate?

We had to reread the headlines twice, since we admit we didn’t watch Donald Trump’s final stump speech in Manchester, N.H. last night. But, yep, there it was: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick making headlines on the last day of an historic presidential campaign, with Trump trumpeting their alleged support for his candidacy. Here’s the report by Globe’s Jaclyn Reiss and Steve Annear and here’s the piece by the Herald’s Chris Cassidy. It’s a final bizarre ending to a very bizarre election, with a classic Massachusetts twist. 

Now watch, with the leadership of the free world at stake today, how much media energy and resources are expended trying to nail down whether Brady and Belichick really did, or mean to, endorse Trump, right down to timelines, anonymous Deep Throat sources, the impacts on Tom Brady jersey sales and product endorsements, thumb-sucker pieces on sports stars in politics, distractions in the locker room, etc, etc.  

And Trump takes final shots at Elizabeth Warren

And, yes, there was yet another Massachusetts angle to the presidential race last night, because it always does come back to Massachusetts, as we all know, i.e. Trump’s final verbal assault on U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. It’s below the part about Trump bragging about Brady and Belichick. And, oh, Trump also praised Curt Schilling, who says he might take on Warren in 2018.

Boston Herald

Did Question 2 supporters completely underestimate suburban voters?

As supporters and opponents continued to duke it out yesterday over the highly contentious Question 2 ballot initiative on charter schools, CommonWealth’s Michael Jonas takes one last look at those suburban voters who seem to have been convinced that passage of Question 2 will hurt their school districts, even though there’s little or no chance charter schools will ever be OK’d in their communities if the ballot measure passes. The apparent uncertainty may well be Question 2’s final undoing, Jonas writes.

CommonWealth

Baker will vote for Question 3 farm-animals initiative

Gov. Charlie Baker is bucking business groups who oppose Question 3, the ballot initiative that require all meat and eggs produced and sold in Massachusetts to come from humanely-caged animals, reports SHNS’s Matt Murphy and Andy Metzger at the Lowell Sun. “I’m going to vote yes on Question 3 although I think it’s a really close call. I’ve talked to a lot of people who know a lot about this issue who say that there’s a very good case to be made for voting no on Question 3 as well.” Question 3 is probably going to pass with or without Baker’s support, but it’s interesting to know where he stands.

Lowell Sun

Judge hands partial victory to ACLU on registration suit

A judge yesterday ordered that three people be allowed to vote in today’s election, handing a partial victory to plaintiffs in a suit brought by the ACLU over the constitutionality of the state’s pre-election voter registration deadlines, the Globe reports. But the trio’s votes won’t immediately count until the judge renders a separate decision after the election, reports the Herald. He also technically didn’t make a final ruling on the constitutional argument over pre-election voter registration laws in general.

Galvin: Turnout to exceed 3 million today in Massachusetts

With more than one million people voting early this election cycle, Secretary of State Bill Galvin is predicting a “very high turnout” of more than 3 million in Tuesday’s elections in Massachusetts, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive. Galvin didn’t predict a record turnou, but it could be close to one today. “The level of interest is very high. This has been a very intense election.”

MassLive

The rich: They really are different from the rest of us

It’s no surprise that the wealthiest residents tend to live in the wealthiest towns that give the most money to political candidates, ballot campaigns and PACs. But did you know that residents of the affluent town of Weston have donated, on average, $244 per person to in-state political causes since 2008? And that the average resident in half the cities and towns in the state donated less than $22 during the same eight-year time period? Wicked Local’s Gerry Tuoti crunched all the numbers and has a lot of other interesting finance factoids, including a town-by-town map tracking donations. 

Wicked Local

Baker orders Environmental Police investigation

Gov. Charlie Baker says his administration will review operations at the Massachusetts Environmental Police following a WCVB story showing some officers spending hours at home while still on the job. “If people are playing fast and loose with the rules we’ll do something about it,” Baker told the station. 

WCVB (video)

Jackson floats free T passes for public school students

Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson wants the city to amp up the subsidies it provides public school students to ride the MBTA, making them essentially free for all high school students, Kyle Scott Claus of Boston Magazine reports.  Jackson’s proposal, which would replace a current plan that gives heavily discounted T passes to high school students who live outside of walking distance from schools, will be subject of a hearing Wednesday night.

Boston magazine

MBTA hires Green Line overseer, moves to boost Orange line service

The MBTA made big moves on two fronts yesterday. First, it hired a Chicago-based construction official, John Dalton, a vice president at Arcadis NV, to oversee the $2.3 billion Green Line extension project into Somerville and Medford, in a move expected to please federal officials,CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohlreports. Meanwhile, the T has found way to increase Orange line capacity by 8 percent by shaving a total of 30 seconds off aerage train travel times. Bruce explains the seemingly simple time-saver move in a separate piece at CommonWealth magazine.

Private group offers to subsidize T personnel positions

In a highly unusual move, the normally secretive Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, a business group, is offering to subsidize the recruiting and training of some employees at the cash-strapped MBTA, reports the Globe’s Nicole Dungca. Though what the T really needs is more reforms and probably more tax revenue, the group’s drop-in-the-bucket offer nevertheless shows how much importance the business community attaches to having a reliable transit system.

Boston Globe

Advocates applaud solitary limits

Prisoners’ rights advocates are applauding a move by the Supreme Judicial Court to limit the use of long-term solitary confinement in state prisons, Marilyn Schairer of WGBH reports. The SJC issued a ruling last month that directs the Department of Corrections to adhere to regulations already on the books, including offering prisoners ordered into administrative solitary confinement a hearing on whether they can be re-integrated into the general prison population. 

WGBH

Fentanyl feeds overdose surge

As many as 1,475 state residents have died of overdoses so far this year, an average of five every day, raising questions about the aggressive approach the state has taken to quell the epidemic, Martha Bebinger of WBUR reports, citing data from the state Department Public Health. Overdose deaths continue to rise even as the number of prescriptions written for opioids drops along with overall heroin use and officials point to the rise of Fentanyl as a major culprit behind the numbers. 

WBUR

Quincy duo accused of improperly funneling money to Walsh, Healey and Quincy mayor

The Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance have accused two developers behind a new boutique hotel in downtown Quincy of violating campaign finance laws by funneling $3,000 in donations, via an employee, to Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Attorney General Maura Healey, reports Neal Simpson at the Patriot Ledger. Alex Matov and Adrian Shapiro – who denied wrongdoing but have agreed to pay $10,000 to settle allegations – reportedly reimbursed an executive for the donations she made to Koch, Walsh and Healey, thus hiding the fact they were the real donors, the commission said.

Patriot Ledger

Lawn on D closer to the black

The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority has dramatically cut its losses but continues to bleed red ink by operating the popular Lawn on D in South Boston, Donna Goodison of the Herald reports. The MCCA expects to lose as much as $350,000 this year, down from $2.3 million last year and now says it expects to break even either next year or in 2018. 

Boston Herald

FBI moves into handsome new Chelsea digs

It was years in the making, but the FBI has finally moved its operations out of Boston’s One Center Plaza into a gleaming new 268,000-square-foot facility in Chelsea, reports Scott Croteau at MassLive. The accompanying photo shows a rather handsome building, if we may say so. A formal dedication is scheduled for early 2017. No mention of costs, but the last we heard the price tag was about $150 million. Here’s the FBI’s own press release about the operational move.

MassLive

Today’s Headlines

Metro

Lawmakers consider whether to study Boston helipad issue – Boston Globe

Boston ranked fifth-worst city for veterans – Boston Magazine

Tito Jackson: Give our students free T passes – Boston Magazine

MCCA cuts Lawn on D losses – Boston Herald

Massachusetts

Overdose deaths in Mass. continue to surge – Boston Globe

Westfield considers smoking ban on all public property – MassLive

T hires GLX manager at $280,000 base salary – CommonWealth Magazine

New ethics rules in place for Framingham town meeting members – MetroWest Daily News

Spending on ballot questions breaks records – Gloucester Times

Quincy Center developers accused of hiding donations to mayor – Patriot Ledger

Volunteers plan to help Spanish-speaking voters in Northampton, Amherst – Hampshire Gazette

Rights advocates applaud SJC ruling placing limits on solitary confinement – WGBH

Nation

Clinton takes sunny approach as Trump has dark warnings – New York Times

Jury orders Rolling Stone and writer to pay $3 million – New York Times

Trump drifts off message – Politico

Without early victories, Donald Trump’s night could be over quickly – Boston Globe

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