Election Day: What You Need to Know

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Boston City Council races, ballot questions, and of course the mayoral race -- there's a lot at stake on Tuesday.

Ballot Questions

Historically, the mayor of Boston has a lot of power of the budget process. Ballot Question 1 is looking to change the city's charter to give more control to the Boston City Council. Every single Boston City Councilor has said they will vote Yes, including the two mayoral candidates.

Question 1 is binding and reads: Shall this city approve the charter amendment proposed by the city council summarized below?

And here's the summary:

The proposed amendment to the Boston City Charter would change the City of Boston’s budget process in several ways. Under the proposed amendment, the Mayor and City Council would hold budgetary powers together, with the power to modify and amend appropriation orders. As is the case now, under the amendment only the Mayor may initially submit a budget or appropriation order. Currently, the City Council can adopt or reject a budget, or reduce specific items in a budget. Under the proposed amendment, the City Council would have the ability to amend the budget by reallocating funds among existing or new line items. The total amount of the City Council’s amended version of the budget, however, could not exceed the total amount of the budget proposed by the Mayor. The Mayor could accept or reject the City Council’s version of the budget, or amend any line item in the City Council’s version of the budget. The City Council would have the ability to override the Mayor’s veto or amendments by a two-thirds vote. In addition, the Mayor and City Council would also be able to amend the Boston Public School budget, subject to existing laws providing that only the Boston School Committee may originate a school budget or allocate spending within a school budget. The proposed amendment also requires the City Council and Mayor to create by ordinance an independent Office of Participatory Budgeting, including an external oversight board, to further public engagement with public spending. Under the proposed amendment, the office could create and oversee an equitable and binding decision-making process open to all Boston residents. The structure of the office and oversight board, and the binding decision making process on the budget, would be described in the future ordinance enacted by the City Council and Mayor.

Question 2 is non-binding meaning that the question will not result in any new, changed, or rejected law. Instead, it acts as an advisory question to allow voters to voice their preference to elected officials. Question 2 is about the proposed Eversource substation in East Boston and asks: Should a high voltage, electric substation be built at 400 Condor Street in East Boston, along the Chelsea Creek, near homes, parks, playgrounds, jet fuel storage, and in a flood risk area rather than in a nearby alternative safe and secure location such as non-residential Massport land at Logan Airport?

Question 3 is also non-binding, and asks: Should the Current appointed school committee structure be changed to a school committee elected by the residents of Boston? Any desired change would still need to be approved by the state legislature. Boston is the only municipality that has a non-elected school committee.

Boston City Council District 6 

Kendra Hicks (Photo from twitter.com/hicks4district6)

This has been an intense election for the seat that is being vacated by current District 6 City Councilor Matt O'Malley.

There were three candidates, which were whittled down two after the September municipal election. Longtime community organizer and Jamaica Plain resident Kendra Hicks won the municipal election by more than 1,200 votes over second place finisher Mary Tamer, a former Boston School Committee member and West Roxbury resident.

To say that this election got ugly would be an understatement after a mailer sent by the Tamer campaign had a "racialized tone".

Mary Tamer

Read a Jamaica Plain News Q&A with Kendra Hicks here.

Read a Jamaica Plain News Q&A with Mary Tamer here.

Read Part I and Part II of Q&As done with all three candidates before the municipal election.


Boston City Council At-Large

There are eight candidates in this race and you can choose up to four candidates.

David Halbert

Bridget Nee-Walsh

At-Large City Councilor Julia Mejia 

Carla Monteiro

Ruthzee Louijeune

Althea Garrison

At-Large City Councilor Michael Flaherty

Erin Murphy

Who Will Be The Next Mayor?

It's down to soon-to-be former at-large city councilors -- Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu.

Click here to read Jamaica Plain News' Q&A with Essaibi George.

Click here to read Jamaica Plain News' Q&A with Michelle Wu.

Where To Vote

The polls will be open from 7 am to 8 pm.

Not sure where you vote? Click here to find your voting location.