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East Boston casino vote must go forward Nov. 5, Galvin says

Secretary of State William Galvin.

Globe File

Secretary of State William Galvin.

The East Boston casino referendum must go forward as scheduled Nov. 5, despite a major shakeup in the ownership structure of casino applicant Suffolk Downs, according to the Secretary of State William Galvin.

“The ballots have been printed, they’ve been distributed and we know people have already voted,” said Galvin, referring to absentee voters. “Obviously we cannot have anything interfere with a municipal election.”

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Over the weekend, Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s office discussed the possibility of postponing the casino vote, after Suffolk Downs dropped its casino partner, Caesars Entertainment, over concerns the gambling giant would fail a mandatory state background check.

Suffolk Downs intends to replace Caesars with another operator and move ahead in its pursuit of a casino license.

The shakeup at Suffolk Downs could also create an opening for the referendum results to be challenged, no matter the outcome.

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Galvin said whichever side loses could potentially sue to invalidate the results based on an inaccurate description-- printed on the ballot -- of an agreement between the city and Suffolk Downs.

The description mentions Caesars, which is no longer part of the project.

Mark Arsenault can be reached at mark.arsenault@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bostonglobemark
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