Huge voter turnout predicted for election

City clerk Michael Matarazzo is predicting a heavy voter turnout of 70% for Tuesday’s presidential election.

Everett has a total of 19,906 voters eligible to cast ballots in the election.

Matarazzo reported that nearly 1,000 new voters have been added to the rolls since primary day in September.

The city’s 12 precinct voting sites will be open on Tuesday from 7 in the morning until 8 at night.

There are nine races on the local ballot, although five of them are uncontested.

In addition, there are five ballot questions – three that are legally binding, while the other two are only advisory in nature.

The big contest nationally is for President and Vice-President.

The Democratic incumbents, President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joseph Biden, are being challenged by the Republican team headed by Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, and his running mate Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman.

Also on the presidential ballot are the Libertarian Party’s candidates (Johnson/Gray) and the Rainbow Party twosome (Stein/Honkala).

The hottest in-state race is for U.S. Senator.

The incumbent is Republican Scott P. Brown, who won a special election two years ago to serve out the balance of the late Ted Kennedy’s term of office.

Challenging him is Democratic nominee Elizabeth A. Warren, a Harvard professor, who is making her maiden run for elective public office.

The city of Everett will be getting a new congressman in January as a result of redistricting.

Running to replace Cong. Edward Markey are Cong. Michael Capuano, the Democratic nominee, and independent candidate Karla Romero of Boston.

Middlesex County Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian, a Democrat and former Waltham state representative, is being challenged by “un-enrolled” candidate Ernesto M. Petrone, a corrections officer who is a first-time office seeker.

Petrone resides on Waverly Avenue in Everett.

Guaranteed victory on election night because they are running unopposed are Democrats Sal DiDomenico, state senator; Stephen Smith, state representative; Terrence Kennedy, governor’s councilor; Michael A. Sullivan, clerk of courts; and Maria C. Curtatone, nominee for register of deeds.

The three ballot questions that are binding and will become state law if approved by voters on Tuesday include one affecting auto repairs; one that would allow physician-assisted suicides; and one that would legalize the medical use of marijuana.

Question No. 1 – This is called the “Right to Repair” referendum. If approved, it would ensure that no one is forced to go to a dealership for repairs unless they want to do so.

Automakers would be required to make repair information and tools available for purchase by local auto repair shops.

Even though this question remains on the ballot, proponents and opponents have negotiated a compromise, causing some on both sides of the issue to urge voters to “blank” this question on Tuesday. But the compromise, which kicks-in if less than 30% vote “yes”, would give automakers an extra three years to comply.

  Question No. 2 - Called the “Death with Dignity” ballot initiative, this would legally empower physicians to prescribed life-ending medication at the request of a terminally ill patient who meets certain conditions.

The so-called “physician-assisted suicide” proposal would require a physician to certify that the patient has less than six months to live due to their terminal illness, but the physician would not be required to be present when the patient actually takes the life-ending medication.

In addition, there is no psychiatrist visit required and no consultation for palliative care, a compassionate form of care that minimizes pain and maximizes quality of life for the patient.

The America Medical Association is opposed to this initiative.

Question No. 3 – This proposal seeks to legally permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The state would license and regulate 35 non-profit dispensaries for the sale of marijuana to ease the suffering of people with cancer, Parkinson’s disease, MS, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, etc. Five of the dispensaries must be in Middlesex County, although the locations have not yet been identified.

Proponents maintain that making “pot” available for medical use would lessen the need for dangerous narcotics like morphine and OxyContin.

Opponents contend that loopholes in the law may lead to abuse, corruption and exploitation. They point out that there is no physician oversight and that the proposal needs tighter restrictions.

  Question No. 4 – This non-binding question requests that the state senator from this district vote to support a multi-purpose resolution that most importantly calls upon Congress and the President to prevent cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans’ benefits and unemployment.

The resolution also seeks support for creating and protecting jobs and for providing new revenues by investing in manufacturing, schools, housing, renewable energy and transportation.

It also calls for reducing the long-term federal deficit by closing loopholes, eliminating offshore tax havens and raising taxes on those who have an income over $250,000.

When the war in Afghanistan ends, the resolution wants to redirect any saved military budget funds to domestic programs.

Question No. 5 – This non-binding resolution seeks to instruct the state senator from this district to vote for legislation allowing the state to regulate and tax marijuana in the same manner as alcohol.