With Key Legislative Elections Decided in September, Forums Taking Place Wed. and Thurs.

Election of several state legislators, including a new minority majority Senate district, will be decided in September since there are no opposing party challengers to require November balloting. That means Methuen Community Studios and Lawrence Community Access Television plan what may be the only candidate forums this Wednesday and Thursday. Methuen Community Studios Executive Director Karen L. Hayden explained the urgency. “My biggest concern is that people are not aware that the primary election on Sept. 6 is their only chance to vote on this.

Haverhill City Clerk Prepares Residents for State-Required Voting Location Changes

The Haverhill City Clerk’s office is preparing the public for this fall’s elections that may be muddled by new polling places for some, introduction of sub precincts and changes to legislative districts for others. All of the changes come as a result of redistricting plans by the Massachusetts House and Senate last year. One of the stranger shifts sees a small number of River Street residents in Ward 7, Precinct 2, having to go across the river to vote. Haverhill City Clerk Linda L. Koutoulas told city councilors during recent budget talks. She had few, workable options.

Lynn Social Worker Leigh Launches Campaign for Essex County Sheriff

Virginia Leigh, candidate for Essex County sheriff, plans to kick off her campaign formally at the end of next week. Leigh is a clinical social worker running against incumbent Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger. In a statement, she promised to “to put an end to the revolving door at the county jail by using her mental health expertise to change outcomes and a culture of politics as usual.”

“A majority of county prisoners are incarcerated for crimes related to mental health and substance use,” Leigh said, adding “Voters are the only people who can hold a sheriff accountable, so after six long years under politics as usual, it’s time to elect a different kind of Sheriff.”

Leigh said she has 12 years of experience working as a clinical social worker in detention centers, community health centers and schools. She said most people held by the county will return to their local communities, while still struggling with major mental illness and substance use problems. “If you effectively lower recidivism, you strengthen communities by reducing the cost of housing prisoners, lowering rates of re-offending and preventing future victims,” Leigh said. Her campaign kickoff is Saturday, July 9, 5 p.m., at the Galleries at Lynnarts, 25 Exchange St., Lynn.

Vargas’ VOTES Act Amendment Helps Military Members Cast Ballots From Overseas

A recently passed state voting rights bill includes an amendment co-sponsored by Rep. Andy X. Vargas that allows uniformed and overseas citizens to vote electronically through a mobile voting system. The VOTES Act amendment by Haverhill’s Vargas and Beverly Rep. Jerry Parisella requires the mobile system to be approved by the secretary of the Commonwealth. A similar provision allows voters with disabilities to request appropriate accommodations, including an electronic ballot application, ballot and voter affidavit that can be submitted electronically. “Military service members face unnecessary challenges when voting. We’ve learned from conservative and liberal states alike that mobile voting presents us with the opportunity to give our active-duty service members and citizens with disabilities a fair shot at participating in our elections,” Vargas said.

Haverhill City Clerk’s Office Looking to Hire Temporary Poll Workers for Upcoming Election Cycle

Haverhill City Clerk Linda L. Koutoulas’ office is looking to hire workers to staff poll locations during the upcoming election season. The clerk’s office said “Having an adequate number of poll workers to staff polling places on and before election day ensures voters receive the assistance they need at the polls and can help provide a positive and smooth voting experience for all.”

Inspectors are paid $195 per day and wardens and clerks $225 per day. Attendance at a training prior to the elections is required. Elections take place Tuesday Sept. 6, and Tuesday Nov.

State Democratic Party Names Sherlock, 2019 Haverhill Council Candidate, Acting Executive Director

A former candidate for Haverhill City Council was named Thursday as acting executive director of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. Joe Sherlock, now of East Boston, unsuccessfully sought a City Council seat in 2019. “The work before us is important and urgent and I’m honored to take on this role at this pivotal moment,” Sherlock said in a statement. “Democrats in Massachusetts have a lot to offer but we can take nothing for granted. We will work hard to support the Democratic candidates in the general election this fall so that Massachusetts can continue to be a national leader on so many important policy issues.”

Democratic Party Chairman Gus Bickford said Sherlock becomes acting executive director, but he will be formally nominated for the permanent position at the next State Committee Meeting in September.

Haverhill Democrats Host Local Candidates for State Office Tonight at Free Meet and Greet

The Haverhill Democratic City Committee is hosting a free event tonight for the public to meet and greet local Democratic candidates for Congress, Governor’s Council, district attorney, sheriff, state senator and state representative. The event is described as “a great opportunity for members of the City Committee, as well as activists throughout the Merrimack Valley, to meet and speak with Democratic candidates.” Committee officials note redistricting has created some new district lines for Haverhill’s state Senate and House seats, and this is a good chance to meet the candidates. Each candidate has an opportunity to address the group for about five minutes and socialize before and after the speaking program. Candidates gather Wednesday, June 15, starting at 6 p.m., at the Barking Dog Restaurant, 77 Washington St., Haverhill. This event is free and open to the public.

Newcomer Ryan Uncontested in State Rep. Race to Succeed Campbell; New Faces in Many Races

Many new faces appear on this fall’s ballots as legislators retire and drastically altered districts bring a new crop of candidates. Newcomer Ryan M. Hamilton of Methuen faces no opposition from either party in his Democratic bid to succeed Rep. Linda Dean Campbell, who is retiring. The altered 15th Essex District seat covers portions of Haverhill and Methuen. Incumbent Haverhill Rep. Andy X. Vargas also faces no opposition in the 3rd Essex District. No primary election is required in the nearby 14th Essex District, where Rep. Christina A. Minicucci is also stepping down after the district dropped Haverhill, Methuen and Lawrence.