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On November 4th, 2008 Massachusetts residents entered the voting booth prepared to select the next president, but it was how they answered one of the three voter-initiated ballot questions that could end up determining the future home of the New England Revolution.
Excitement is high among stadium-craving fans of the New England Revolution. After news reports had circulated linking the Revolution to Revere, Tuesday morning Fox 25 ran a five minute interview with Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo. The entire segment was dedicated to the possible relocation the Revs to Revere; specifically the vacated greyhound racing track at Wonderland. I can't remember the last time the Revs got more than twenty seconds dedicated to them on a local channel. While everything is preliminary at this point, this may be the closest the Revs have been to securing a stadium location.
How did the Wonderland area become available? What happened to the dog track?
Politics are important. The highly polarized nature of our current system can lead to a general feeling of apathy towards politics. The feeling that ones vote doesn't "count" is quite common. Enter local politics; with its voter sponsored initiatives, where citizens gather a required number of signatures to bring local issues to the ballot for a vote. It's these ballot questions where the votes and outcomes tend to have far more of a direct impact on the citizen. I find them quite interesting as the results can often traverse party lines.
Three ballot questions were brought before the electorate of Massachusetts during the 2008 election:
1. Eliminate the income tax (Failed 70%/30%)
2. Decriminalize marijuana (Passed 65%/35%)
3. Ban dog racing
The Committee to Protect Dogs, the official ballot committee seeking the initiative to ban dog racing used the below arguments to sway voters to ban it. My apologies for the awful music.
Massachusetts Greyhound Protection Act (via yesonthree)
Opponents to the question argued that organizers of the initiative used exaggerated photos of emaciated greyhounds from other states to sway opinion and warned that the ban would cost Massachusetts jobs and revenue.
Wonderland Greyhound Park's fate was sealed when the polls closed that day in November of 2008. In the most narrowly contested of the states' three ballot questions, 53.6% of Massachusetts residents voted to ban dog racing. A total of 3,102,995 votes were cast, constituting a 73.5% voter turnout of an electorate of 4,220,488 voters.
(Very Cool Map: Check out the town by town results, note that the City of Revere voted against the ban 6,342 to 4,954. Boston.com poll results differ from Secretary of State's official report of 53.6%)
The Massachusetts Greyhound Protection Act was enacted as a result of the collective action the citizens of Massachusetts took that day. The ban on dog racing in the state took effect January 1, 2010. The park continued to operate offering simulcast wagering but closed for good on August 19, 2010, laying off the remaining 80 workers. Since then, Wonderland, partnered with nearby Suffolk Downs, has been a speculative location in the developing casino talks. All of this suddenly became very relevant to area soccer fans this week when Revere's mayor Dan Rizzo proudly declared a preliminary plan re-purposing the track area in order to be the future home for the New England Revolution.
Who would have thought an inconsequential ballot question could possibly end up being the catalyst that led to the New England Revolution finally securing a soccer specific stadium in Boston's urban core?
...And Kent Brockman said democracy doesn't work!
Democracy (via aussietaurus)
Check out Ballotpedia for all your political fact finding needs.
How did you vote on Ballot Question #3 in 2008?
Yes for the ban (5 votes)
No (3 votes)
8 total votes