State Primary: Who can vote, Changing parties, Who’s up for vote, and residents on the ballots

Above: Most of Southborough voters get to choose which primary to vote in on September 4th. (Image posted to flickr by DonkeyHote)

Tomorrow is the last day to register to vote in the primaries.* That also means it’s the deadline to change your party affiliation for that vote.* So, it’s a good time to look at what’s on each party’s ballot. 

Surprisingly, each of the big parties’ ballots features a current or former resident.

For more than half of town voters, the first choice to make will be which ballot to pick. Unenrolled voters can weigh in on who will make it to the general election ballot in November.** With little overlap in races, your choice may depend on which contested office you care the most about.

But if you are registered with a party, that’s the ballot you’ll need to vote on. (So, if you regret which party you committed to, now’s the time to switch.)

If you vote on the Democratic ballot, you’ll get to decide who vies for four seats in federal and state government. Those primary voters also determine who our district’s Councillor is. (The seat is only challenged in the primary.)

The Republican ballot will gives voters choices in five races, all of which are also contested in the general. The only overlap in the two parties’ contested races is the Governor’s seat. 

The Libertarian ballot for Southborough has only one candidate on it. And no other parties have ballots in this year’s primaries.

Voting will take place on Tuesday, September 4th from 6:30 am to 8:00 pm at Trottier Middle School.

Below are the contested races for each party’s Southborough primary ballot: 

Democratic Party: 


  • Jay M. Gonzalez, Needham
  • Bob Massie, Somerville

Lieutenant Governor

  • Quentin Palfrey, Weston
  • Jimmy Tingle, Cambridge

Across the state, comedian Jimmy Tingle’s name is probably be better known. But here, Quentin Palfrey may get recognition. Before his visit to town in February, Southborough Democrats shared that Palfrey is a native of our town. (You can read about that here.)

Secretary of State

  • William Francis Galvin, Boston – incumbent
  • Josh Zakim, Boston

Councillor, Third District

  • Marilyn M. Petitto Devaney, Watertown – incumbent
  • Nick Carter, Newton

Once again, no one else running for this office in the general. That means that Dem primary voters decide who holds the seat. You can read more background on the job’s responsibilities (and Devaney’s past controversies) through my 2016 post. But this year’s challenger has changed. So, it’s worth reading recent media coverage of the candidates’ debate.

Republican Party:


  • Charles D. Baker, Swampscott – incumbent
  • Scott D. Lively, Springfield

U.S. Senator

  • Geoff Diehl, Whitman
  • John Kingston, Winchester
  • Beth Joyce Lindstrom, Groton

Attorney General

  • James R. McMahon, III, Bourne
  • Daniel L. Shores, Hingham

U.S. Rep in Congress, Fifth District

  • John Hugo, Woburn
  • Louis Kuchnir, Southborough

This one came as a surprise to me. How did I not know that a Southborough resident was running for U.S. Congress?

It turns out that’s pretty easy to miss. A google search couldn’t find a campaign website, social media, or any real news coverage. I did find a YouTube video in which he pitched himself at a “Republican Revolution” event this June in Boston. You can see that here.

Register of Deeds, Worcester District

  • Kate D. Campanale, Worcester
  • Kevin J. Kuros, Uxbridge

Also on the ballots:

There are a slew of candidates running unopposed on primary ballots. They include well known incumbents U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D), Lt. Governor Karyn Polito (R), Attorney General Maura Healey (D), U.S. Representative Katherine Clark (D), State Senator James Eldridge (D), and State Representative Carolyn Dykema (D).

For Libertarian voters, the only checkbox on the Southborough ballot will be for State Auditor candidate Daniel Fishman of Beverly.

*To register or change your registration, visit the Town’s voter information page for more details, including links to the state’s website.

**Registered voters who haven’t affiliated with a party are referred to as Unenrolled. (For Southborough that is 61.2% of the voter rolls.) In Massachusetts, those voters are given the option of which ballot to vote on. Voters registered as “Independent” are restricted to voting on the United Independent party’s ballot – which doesn’t exist this primary season.

Updated (8/14/18 2:50 pm): Town Clerk Jim Hegarty provided current stats for voters affiliated with a party (22.7% Democrat, 15.2% Republican, .4% Libertarian.) He also gave details for anyone who needs to vote by Abstentee Ballot:

Absentee ballots can be obtained at the Clerk’s Office where people can vote in person. If someone wants us to mail an absentee ballot to themselves or to a family member, they can complete the form atthis link, sign it, and email it to me at

The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot is 5 pm on Friday August 31 and our office will stay open until 5 pm to accommodate any last minute requests.

If someone will be voting by absentee ballot, they need to mail it back to us so that we receive it before the polls close on September 4.

Finally, he sent along the sample ballots for the three primaries. Click links to see the Democrat, Republican, and Libertarian ballots.

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