The Revere City Council on Monday night officially set the citywide casino referendum vote for Nov. 5 – the already-existing date of the City Election.
The call came in a vote of 9-0 in favor – with Councillors Bob Haas and Stephen Reardon being absent from the vote for unspecified reasons. There was no discussion associated with setting the vote.
Some on the Council, however, have been concerned as to whether the Gaming Statute allows the vote to occur in coordination with an existing election – such as this November’s City Election.
However, MassGaming officials said there is no prohibition as to when the referendum occurs. That, they said, is purely up to the host community.
“The matter of the referendum is really up to the host community and whatever rules the Secretary of the Commonwealth may have on this issue,” wrote MassGaming Spokesperson Elaine Driscoll in an e-mail. “It is not something that our statute covers beyond the call for a Host Community Referendum and guidance regarding ward vote versus citywide vote.”
The City of Boston is likely to schedule its referendum vote on the same date as Revere – Nov. 5. However, its City Council has yet to officially mark the date, mostly due to a conflict as to who will vote in that City. Currently, the vote is to be a ward-only vote in East Boston, but there is a major push to make that vote citywide in Boston.
The effort seems to be coalescing around that city’s heated mayoral contest – for which there is a hotly-contested preliminary election next week.
Revere’s vote being on the City Election also brings a whole new dynamic into several races – including Ward 5, Ward 1 and the at-Large race. While the casino has been a natural subject in the election process this year, many believe that now it will become the center of many campaigns.
Already, challengers such as Al Terminiello Jr. – who is running for Ward 5 – have taken the opportunity to voice serious concerns with the City’s Mitigation Agreement, particularly when it comes to traffic issues within the ward.
That kind of debate is likely to expand throughout the races as the casino vote will become more melded in with the City Election – with the likelihood of the election becoming all about casino politics.
Meanwhile, a poll of voters citywide in Boston by the Boston Globe last week showed that 49 percent favor the casino and 37 percent oppose it.
Last week, in West Springfield, voters came to the polls and decidedly denied a proposal from Hard Rock for a casino there.