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MGM, Casino Opponents Hope for High Voter Turnout


SPRINGFIELD, Mass, (WGGB) — After months and months of anticipation, the casino vote in Springfield is now less than a day away.

On the eve of the vote, hundreds are turning out here in downtown Springfield at an event sponsored by MGM.

Not surprisingly, this is a pro-casino rally, but no matter what side of the issue you stand on, turn out for tomorrow’s vote is expected to be high and that’s something both those for and against look forward to.

This stack of absentee ballots at the election office in Springfield City Hall is just from Monday morning. It’s also one of many strong indicators that Tuesday’s casino vote is drawing a whole lot of interest.

“As of Friday, we’ve had 880 requests by mail or in person and just today in the first hour, we’ve had over twenty people voting in the office, so it’s been pretty, pretty busy today,” says Springfield Election Commissioner Gladys Oyala.

In the back room, election workers have ballot bags at the ready, which will be delivered before the doors open at Springfield’s 64 polling centers Tuesday morning.

And there are plenty of extra ballots – just in case.

Oyola estimates voter turn out at around 30 percent, or 25,000 people.

“Tomorrow, we have people who are going to vote. who are informed and excited to vote which is important as well,” Oyala adds.

All that excitement stemming, not doubt, from the massive get-out-the-vote efforts of MGM, who’s downtown office was filled with volunteers and workers, making calls and heading out to knock on doors.

“We believe strongly that we have the support of the community, so the bigger the turn out, the bigger our vote, but we just want a high turnout,” adds Michael Mathis, MGM’s Vice President of Global Gaming.

And so does the other side, according to Michael Kogut of the grassroots Citizens Against Casino Gambling.

Kogut acknowledges it’s all about motivation and degrees. “It’s going to come down to who’s going to come out and vote in the 90 degree heat,” he says.

Regardless of the vote on Tuesday, a casino is coming here to western Mass., but now it’s up to Springfield voters to decide whether they want it to potentially be built in their backyard.

Polls are open tomorrow in Springfield from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The election office will be open even earlier, at 6 a.m.

Officials urge voters with questions to call the office at (413) 787-6190.

ABC40 will be covering tomorrow’s vote all day long, including voting totals as they come in after the polls close tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m.

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