State and Local Elections Bring Voters of Vineyard to the Polls on Tuesday

By JULIA WELLS

Vineyard voters will go to the polls Tuesday to help choose a new Massachusetts governor along with nine members of the Martha's Vineyard Commission, four county commissioners and a new district attorney for the Cape and Islands.

Voters will also be asked to answer a series of ballot questions on an array of issues from bilingual education to changing the way the Island's Steamship Authority governor is appointed.

The biennial state election will be held Nov. 5, and by state law polls will be open in every Island town from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Campaigning heated up this week as candidates began to work the telephones and paid political advertisements appeared in Island newspapers. Among other things, the results of the election are expected to have far-reaching consequences for the Vineyard and its end game regarding growth and development.

Running for the Martha's Vineyard Commission this year are three candidates from Edgartown, four from West Tisbury, two from Aquinnah and one each from Chilmark, Oak Bluffs and Tisbury.

In the at-large election, at least one and not more than two members of the commission may be elected from each of the six Vineyard towns.

The race for the county commission includes five candidates running for four seats.

Island voters also face an important decision in Question 4 on the ballot, a binding proposal to change the way the Vineyard Steamship Authority governor is appointed.

This week there appeared to be growing opposition to the question, which was imposed on the Vineyard by the state legislature when it recently adopted new enabling legislation for the boat line.

Only Vineyarders will vote on Question 4.

The statewide contests are topped by the tight race for governor between Democrat Shannon O'Brien and Republican Mitt Romney. Polls this week showed the two candidates were in a statistical dead heat.

The race for Cape and Islands district attorney is between Michael O'Keefe, an assistant district attorney who has worked in the Cape district attorney's office for 20 years, and Kevin Callahan, a Falmouth attorney who has relatively limited experience as a prosecutor.

Running unopposed locally are Cape and Islands Rep. Eric T. Turkington, register of probate Elizabeth Herrmann and county treasurer Noreen Mavro Flanders.

Cape and Islands Sen. Robert O'Leary faces a challenge from Republican Mark Boardman, and U.S. Rep. William Delahunt faces a challenge from Republican Luiz (Lou) Gonzaga. Neither of the Republican challengers are well-known or expected to pose a serious threat to the incumbents.

Up-Island voters will choose five members of the Up-Island regional school district from among eight candidates.

In addition to the SSA referendum, ballots feature three statewide questions including binding questions to abolish bilingual education and the state income tax.

A fifth question regarding a Proposition 2 1/2 bond exemption for the Tisbury wastewater treatment project will appear only on the Tisbury ballot.

Polling locations on the Vineyard are as follows: Aquinnah, Aquinnah town hall; Chilmark, Chilmark Community Center; Edgartown, Edgartown town hall; Oak Bluffs, Oak Bluffs School; Tisbury, American Legion Post 257, opposite the Tisbury School; West Tisbury, public safety building at the town firehouse.