GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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November 4, 2013

Stage set for busy day at city polls

Up to 21,000 Gloucester voters are eligible to go to the polls today.

And with lively races on the ballot and a clear, dry day in the forecast, City Clerk Linda Lowe is optimistic that a fair percentage of them will show up to cast their ballots.

“I think that, because we do have multiple contests, we have good weather, and there’s been an effort by various groups to get people out, I think we’re going to do well,” Lowe said Monday, though she stopped short of making any real turnout prediction.

“You see a lot of (campaign) signs out there,” she noted. “Unless you’re living under a rock, you have to know about it and know it’s going on. There’s been a lot of interest.”

Topping that interest today is the race for mayor between three-term incumbent Carolyn Kirk and challenger Mac Bell, who have carved out different stands and approaches on a variety of issues.

But that’s hardly the only race up for grabs, with a full slate of eight candidates vying for four councilor-at-large seats, nine candidates battling for the six elected seats on the School Committee, contested races in both Ward 2 and Ward 5 — and a nonbinding referendum question asking voters to pick their “preferred use” of the former Fuller School.

The referendum question — while advisory only and last in the ballot’s pecking order — encompasses the far-right column, after all of the candidate races, and may pose some challenges.

In crafting the referendum, city councilors included three options: relocating all or some city offices to Fuller, developing it as a commercial site or developing it as a mixed-use property. They did not include reopening it as a school. And unlike the ballot slots for the elected offices and candidates, there is no referendum write-in line.

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