Keller at Large

Is tonight the end, or just the beginning?

In his latest Keller at Large on MassterList, Jon Keller isn’t too optimistic things will change in hyper-partisan Washington as a result of today’s presidential election. But he is guardedly optimistic we may see some positive changes on Beacon Hill on issues such as police reforms and the budget.

Keller at Large

Happening Today

Election Day

— Today is Election Day across the nation and in Massachusetts, where there are contests for president, Congress, the Legislature, local offices and two statewide ballot initiatives, Questions 1 and 2, with polls in most communities open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

— The MBTA reopens its CharlieCard Store after more than seven months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Massachusetts Gaming Commission holds a public hearing to accept input on the application it received to run live harness horse racing at Plainridge Park Casino in 2021, 10 a.m .

For the most comprehensive listing of calendar items, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall – free trial subscriptions available), as well as MassterList’s Beacon Hill Town Square below.

Today’s Stories

Reminder to readers: SHNS Coronavirus Tracker available for free

A reminder to our readers as the coronavirus crisis unfolds: The paywalled State House News Service, which produces MASSterList, is making its full Coronavirus Tracker available to the community for free on a daily basis each morning via ML. SHNS Coronavirus Tracker.

The coronavirus numbers: 9 new deaths, 9,797 total deaths, 725 new cases

MassLive has the latest coronavirus numbers for Massachusetts.

Lockdown II: Baker orders business curfew, public mask mandate, gathering limits as virus spreads

We’re fully aware it’s Election Day, but we didn’t want Gov. Charlie Baker’s dramatic new curfew, closures and mask-wearing rules to get buried in all the election-related news. GBH’s Mike Deehan, the Globe’s Matt Stout and Desai Moore and CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl have the details on the 10 p.m.-5 a.m. partial business curfews, group gathering limits, a public mask-wearing mandate and other restrictions, as the state tries to blunt the spread of the coronavirus in Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, MassLive’s Steph Solis has a what-you-need-to-know piece on the new mask mandate in Massachusetts. WCVB has more details on the business curfews. More pandemic-related posts are below. Now to Election Day news … 

Record turnout expected today in Massachusetts

Millions have already voted and a million more people are expected to vote today – and it may all add up to a record 3.6 million turnout today in Massachusetts, Secretary of State William Galvin says. 


Galvin eyes ‘orderly turnout,’ but Baker activates National Guard just in case

Secretary of State Bill Galvin is expressing confidence that all will go well today at voting booths, at least in Massachusetts, despite heightened Election Day tensions across the nation, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan. But Gov. Charlie Baker has nevertheless activated the Massachusetts National Guard just in case of troubles today and in coming days, Boston 25 News reports.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says there are no credible threats to voters today, so vote, though he is asking people to ‘remain calm’ (MassLive). Here’s another just-in-case measure being taken, via Universal Hub: “Downtown Crossing getting boarded up.” From Wicked Local: “Framingham and Marlborough police are among area departments increasing their staffing during election week.”

Watching closely: Justice Department to monitor voting in 5 Mass. communities

They’re watching. Mary Whitfill at the Patriot Ledger reports the U.S. Department of Justice is planning to monitor the presidential election in Quincy again this year to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act.  Alana Melanson at the Lowell Sun reports the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division will also be on hand in Lowell, Boston, Malden and Springfield, along with about 40 other locations across the country. Btw: Suffolk DA Rachael Rollings is watching, and listening, too (Herald).

Nervous Dems: Is it 2016 all over again?

How can Democrats not be nervous about today’s presidential election after 2016? The Globe’s Jess Bidgood and Liz Goodwin have a good piece on the high anxieties among Democrats and the high excitement levels among Republicans heading into Election Day. It’s indeed a “role reversal” of sorts, considering most polls show Biden ahead.

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld, like a lot of other people, is watching two things in this election: The incoming results and how they may vary from the polls. From Battenfeld: “If the polls are proved significantly wrong and President Trump wins, it could be the death knell of polling as we know it.”

Boston Globe

Up for grabs today: Fifty legislative seats and the Mass. GOP’s future

State House News Service takes a comprehensive look at today’s competitive legislative races across the state – 42 House contests and eight Senate races. What people will be watching: Whether Republican candidates can hang on amid intense anti-Trump fever among voters in this bluest of blue states.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

‘Last stand of the Republican moderate’

As local politicos eye how many Republicans can survive today’s expected anti-Trump tsunami in Massachusetts, the national media, such as the Washington Post, are eyeing whether one of the nation’s few remaining moderate Republicans, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, can survive today’s vote in Maine.

The Globe’s Brian MacQuarrie had a piece earlier this week on the big Collins-Gideon showdown in Maine.

Washington Post

For the record books: Question 1 is the most expensive ballot initiative in Massachusetts history

They’ve spent $43 million so far on today’s “Right to Repair” referendum? Yep. And it’s a record amount for a ballot question in Massachusetts, as the Globe’s Matt Stout reports. Both Question 1 and Question 2 (ranked-choice voting) are funded by industry groups and/or billionaire bigwigs. Neither would have been on the ballot without their big-bucks backing. Think about it.

Boston Globe

Not partying: Election night gatherings another Covid victim

Not this year. Cyrus Moulton at the Telegram eulogizes a longtime staple of election nights gone by: Election night candidate gatherings where supporters converge to await results. Pols in both parties say even early plans to hold small-scale events had to be shelved given the reality of the coronavirus pandemic. 


Lame-duck action: DeLeo and Spilka promise abortion debate after election

Now that the election is almost over (though not the counting and probable legal fights), lawmakers are beginning to stir on Beacon Hill, as they prepare for the upcoming two-month lame-duck session. And Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo are already vowing they plan to allow a debate over expanding abortion access in Massachusetts. SHNS’s Chris Lisinski, the Herald’s Erin Tiernan and CommonWealth’s Sarah Betancourt have more on the long-stalled ROE Act.

Meanwhile, in other lame-duck news, DeLeo is signaling the House could hold a formal session as early as Thursday, SHNS’s Michael Norton reports (pay wall). Jon Keller, in his latest Keller at Large on MassterList (see top item at the start of the newsletter), has more on what to expect on Beacon Hill post-election.

The first casualty: Encore Boston’s hotel to close amid new restrictions

Back to the governor’s new pandemic rules: There’s already one business casualty even before the emergency edicts have taken effect, via Andy Rosen at the Globe: “Encore to close hotel amid new restrictions on operating hours.”

Is it more than 10,000 virus deaths or 9,797 virus deaths in Massachusetts?

A little confused over news reports regarding total COVID-19 deaths in Massachusetts? It has to do with how the media and state report deaths. If based on probable and confirmed coronavirus deaths, the state passed a grim milestone over the weekend of more than 10,000 deaths. If based on just confirmed deaths, the toll is 9,797, as most media outlets have reported. Either way, both figures are accurate, alarming and tragic.

Btw: SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) reports that the state is revamping its daily COVID data “dashboard” to include more info on age-group cases and university testing. Btw II, via Deborah Becker at WBUR: “Dozens Of Prisoners At MCI-Norfolk Have Tested Positive For COVID-19.”

Brookline Educators Union threatens strike over social-distancing rules in schools

Can they even go on strike? No, it would appear (Globe). But we could be wrong. Anyway, via Tori Bedford at GBH: “Members of the Brookline Educators Union have overwhelmingly voted to go on strike, beginning Tuesday, over concerns about maintaining social distancing guidelines within school buildings.” At issue is how strict 6-foot distancing rules should be in schools. 

Not surprisingly, the school committee plans to file a petition with the state Department of Labor Relations to investigate the threatened strike, Bedford writes.


Still Partying: Halloween gatherings prompt slew of school closings

Speaking of education, schools in Franklin, Quincy and on Martha’s Vineyard are all going fully remote or staying remote longer than planned after word of weekend Halloween parties got back to education officials, according to reports at the MetroWest Daily News and the Patriot Ledger and Marthan’s Vineyard Times.

Pandemic-era crime wave? Nope. Just the opposite in some cities

Remember all those reports last spring of increased violence in some neighborhoods across the state? Turns out that, despite the pandemic lockdown and economic hardships, violent crime and property crime have actually declined in Gateway Cities such as Brockton, Lawrence and Springfield, according to a new report, as Meg McIntyre reports at SHNS.

Just a note: There was an increase in gun violence in some communities, so it wasn’t totally our collective imagination.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

No surge yet: Court data shows few eviction filings as moratorium expires

So far, so good. A wave of evictions that housing advocates warned about when Gov. Baker allowed his moratorium to expire two weeks ago has yet to materialize, Erin Tiernan at the Herald reports, citing court data. Advocates say informal agreements between the city of Boston and large landlords to pause eviction proceedings may be helping keep the wave at bay. 

Boston Herald

Baker files bill to boost state contracts with minority-owned businesses

GBH gets results. From the station’s Paul Singer: “Gov. Charlie Baker proposed sweeping changes to the state’s program for contracting with minority-owned businesses, including provisions to directly address criticisms raised in a year-long investigative series by the GBH News Center for Investigative Reporting.”


Judge: Alexander Hamilton’s letter to Lafayette must be returned to Massachusetts archives

For all you history buffs out there, via Universal Hub: “A federal judge ruled today that a historic letter from Alexander Hamilton to the Marquis de Lafayette that disappeared from the Massachusetts State Archives sometime in the 1930s or 1940s belongs to the state, not to the family that was trying to sell it at auction decades after the family patriarch bought it.”

Universal Hub

‘Brutalized:’ Leverett select board member quits, citing political climate

And one last election-related item: Leverett Select Board member Peter d’Errico has resigned, saying the “polarization, demonization, bombast and recrimination” seen on the national political stage are being repeated in is small town, Scott Merzbach at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. A board member for 13 years, d’Errico is also professor emeritus of legal studies at UMass.  

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Virtual 2020 Power 50: Extraordinary Year, Extraordinary People

We often look from a different lens each year as issues as circumstances shift. 2020 is truly an outlier and a year like none other in recent memory. This year’s Power 50 will take on a different title and goal, as we look to recognize those people whose influence, innovation, commitment, and courage are making a difference in the community during an extraordinary time.

Boston Business Journal and Webster Bank

Challenges and Opportunities of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Policy Over the Next Decade

Please join Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government for a Regulatory Policy Program seminar featuring Michael Fitzpatrick, Head of Global Regulatory Affairs at Google. Registration is required.

Harvard Kennedy School of Business and Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government

The Buchanan Channel: How the Pro-Apartheid Movement Undercut the Reagan Administration’s Anti-Sanctions Effort, 1985-1987

International Security Brown Bag Seminar Series: This seminar examines how the institutional failure of the Reagan White House to invigorate a sterile sanctions debate created a window of opportunity for pro-South Africa conservatives. Augusta Dell’Omo, Ernest May Fellow in History & Policy, International Security Program, speaker.

Harvard Kennedy School and Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Philanthropy and Inequality

Please join the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy for its signature weekly series this fall, The Fierce Urgency of Now, featuring Black, Indigenous, People of Color scholars, activists, and community leaders, and experts from the Global South.

Harvard Kennedy School

Tamara Payne on The Dead are Rising: The Life of Malcolm X – Central Library Author Talk Series

Join the Boston Public Library together with the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the Museum of African American History, and the GBH Forum Network for another virtual event in the American Stories, Inspiration Today author series. Learn about the epic biography produced from 30 years of research by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Les Payne.

Boston Public Library

Interpreting the 2020 Elections

Award-winning author Evan Thomas moderates a panel discussion on interpreting the results of the 2020 elections. Register for this free Kennedy Library Forum to receive an email reminder with a viewing link before the event. Reservations are strongly recommended.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

ICP – Breaking the crime-poverty cycle

Panel Debate – The event will feature an overview by Professor Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, Director, Center for Crime, Justice and Policing, University of Birmingham, a quick historical recap of antiquated laws and contributions by the panelists.

ESRC IAA – University of Birmingham

Critical Conversations: Racial Justice and the Immigrant Rights Movement

The Binger Annual Immigration Law Forum brings together lawyers, students, advocates and community members to learn from each other and develop tools to continue the struggle to protect human rights, basic dignity, and the rule of law.

James H. Binger Center Annual Immigration Law Forum

Building a Better Business Through Diversity and Inclusion

In this panel discussion we’ll explore steps large and small organizations can make to further promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. How are companies going about building a more diverse and inclusive work environment, and what have been the major challenges, as well as best practices that assure a strong program.

Worcester Business Journal

Virtual Discussion – Women Who Lead: Navigating the Challenges of 2020 and Beyond

Join us for a virtual live-streamed panel discussion with four female business leaders moderated by Carolyn Jones, publisher of the Boston Business Journal. Women have unique perspectives to offer on leading through these current turbulent times from how to build organizational resilience to how to advocate for themselves in a politically charged environment to maintaining a work/life balance.

Boston Business Journal and Santander Commercial Banking

Local Voices Network Conversation: Civic Engagement (Honan-Allston)

Join the Boston Public Library and Local Voices Network for an online discussion about civic engagement. LVN conversations are focused on sharing our lived experience, rather than beginning the conversation with our positions on issues. We are doing this in order to help build connections and to foster conversations that improve our understanding of one another.

Boston Public Library

Modern Mobility Aloft: Elevated Highways, Architecture and Urban Change in Pre-Interstate America

Join the Boston Public Library and the Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Public Library for an online talk with Amy D. Finstein, author of Modern Mobility Aloft: Elevated Highways, Architecture and Urban Change in Pre-Interstate America.

Boston Public Library

Managing Change to Grow Business – Part II: Growing Your Business in a Virtual World

Please join Middlesex Savings Bank and the Boston Business Journal for this conversation about managing business change in our new normal.

Boston Business Journal and Middlesex Savings Bank

Climate Change, Survival, and Deepening Our Humanity

City of Boston’s Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola leads a panelist discussion on how the belief systems that define and maintain our societies impact the planet and influence our survival. Register for this free virtual Kennedy Library Forum to receive an email reminder with a viewing link before the event.

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

MIT: AI and the Work of the Future Congress

Join MIT’s Task Force on WOTF, MIT CSAIL, and MIT Digital for this year’s Congress which will be a virtual event highlighting research findings from the MIT Task Force on WOTF’s final report that will be released in November. Given the rapidly changing environment brought on by Covid-19, this topic is more important and relevant that ever.

MIT Work of the Future Task Force; MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab; MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy

Disinformation and Digital Citizenship: Disinformation and Election Psychology

Disinformation and Digital Citizenship is a Learning Circle that meets weekly to discuss disinformation and its effect on civic institutions and society during an election year. Learning circles are small groups of individuals who explore and area of shared interest through discussion in a collaborative, friendly and mutually supportive environment.

Boston Public Library

Managing Climate Risk in the US Financial System

This webinar will be given by Robert Litterman, Chairman of the Risk Committee and Founding Partner, Kepos Capital, and Stephen Moch, MBA and MPP candidate at HBS and HKS. It is part of M-RCBG”s weekly Business and Government Seminar series. Registration is required.

Harvard Kennedy School of Business/Mossavar-Rahmani center for Business and Government

The Future of Higher Education

As schools around the country plan, react, and adapt during the Covid-19 pandemic, the presidents of Greater Washington’s top universities will gather virtually to discuss health and safety, diversity and inclusion, and budgeting and development of the future of higher education. Join the Washington Business Journal for a look behind the scenes with the decision makers.

Washington Business Journal

Inno on Fire

The Inno on Fire Awards is our annual celebration of innovators, big and small, people, and organizations in Boston. What makes a company or individual on fire? We are looking at startups that have had a banner year, people and companies with hew funding, recent product launches, hot hires, innovative approaches to solving problems, and creative leaders who think out of the box.

Boston Business Journal

The State of Innovation: Electrification presented by Analog Devices

Across the network, Innos State of Innovations meetups focus on a specific industry, category, theme or individual and will feature a keynote, fireside chat, panel, pitch, demo or a combination of the five. Join us for a conversation with local innovators and experts.

The Boston Business Journals

2020 Women Who Mean Business

Join us as we celebrate outstanding women at our fourth Women Who Mean Business awards program. These women represent the scale of business in Greater Boston and have demonstrated significant growth in their companies.

Boston Business Journal and Webster Bank

Today’s Headlines


Boston startups are giving employees flexible time off to vote – Boston Business Journal

Brookline Educators Union vote to strike starting Tuesday after school committee no longer requires social distancing – MassLive


Framingham and Marlborough police are among area departments increasing staffing during election week – MetroWest Daily News

Trial underway in T&G’s police records suit – Telegram & Gazette

Selectmen vote to ban nip bottle sales in Mashpee – Cape Cod Times


Trump signals chaotic stretch after election – Washington Post

The voting technology problems that could trigger panic at the polls – Politico

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