Springfield Election Commissioner Expects Polls to be Steady

Springfield voters tomorrow will decide whether MGM’s proposal for a casino license can go forward. The city’s election official is predicting a moderate turnout. As of Friday afternoon, almost 900 Springfield residents had cast absentee ballots. That’s according to Springfield Election Commissioner Gladys Oyola. She says based on those numbers, she’s expecting 25 to 35 percent of residents will show up at polls — less than recent presidential elections but more than last month’s special election for US senator.

“People have really taken an interest in it and have been calling daily to make sure that they’re registered, to make sure they’re able to vote. We’ve even had some interest from outside the city. People from West Springfield, Holyoke wondering if they’re able or eligible to vote in this election so it’s pretty far reaching it’s kind of one of those once in a lifetime votes.”

Oyola says the 19 inch ballot includes a summary of the host community agreement between MGM and the city of Springfield, written by the city lawyer. Both MGM officials and opposition agree it’s too late to influence opinions. An MGM spokesperson says the company is focused on getting as many voters to the polls as possible. He says higher turnout could help influence the state gaming commission when it picks which city gets the casino. Organizers with Citizens Against Casino Gaming say they’re focused on mobilizing voters in the four wards where they believe they have support.