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Mass. voters reject charter school expansion

People lined up to vote at the Woodbourne Apartments in Boston.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Massachusetts voters resoundingly rejected Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy and a proposed expansion of charter schools in the state Tuesday but approved the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.

The state served Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton its 11 electoral votes, not enough to compensate for her losses in broad swaths of the country, where the presidential race remained too close to call. With 83 percent of the state’s precincts reporting, Clinton had 60.4 percent of the vote, to Trump’s 33.7 percent. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, running with former Massachusetts governor William F. Weld on his ticket, garnered 4.4 percent, while Green Party nominee Jill Stein had 1.5 percent.


While Massachusetts’ presidential choice had long been treated as a foregone conclusion by both parties, the substantial policy questions facing voters were far less clear heading into Tuesday night.

Voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot referendum requiring all pork, veal, and eggs farmed and sold in the state to come from animals not confined to ultra-tight quarters, and turned down a separate question that would have authorized the state Gambling Commission to issue a new slots casino license.

With tens of millions of dollars in advertising pouring into the debate over whether the state should sanction 12 new or expanded charter schools each year, and opposition led by teachers’ unions, voters delivered a clear defeat to Governor Charlie Baker, who had campaigned extensively in favor of the measure.

“I think people were concerned about the number, the aggressive number of charter increases, and I think the financial implications had something to do with it as well,” said Boston’s mayor, Martin J. Walsh, who opposed the question.

Massachusetts Republicans were upbeat about their performance in state legislative races, which frequently break Democrats’ way in years with presidential elections. Officials from both parties said that, according to preliminary results, House Republicans had netted one additional seat in their caucus, with voters in the Second Barnstable District giving the nod to Republican William L. Crocker Jr. over Democrat Aaron S. Kanzer.


But Democrats held on to a Cape Cod and Islands Senate seat, with Democrat Julian Cyr beating out Republican Anthony Schiavi, according to preliminary results.

Democrats also retained two Senate seats that Republicans had targeted, with state Senator Eric Lesser winning reelection in the First Hampden and Hampshire District and state Senator Barbara L’Italien prevailing in the Second Essex and Middlesex District.

Former Boston city councilor Stephen J. Murphy won the Suffolk County register of deeds seat, beating out three independent candidates.

Boston voters also approved a property-tax surcharge that would help fund affordable housing, the acquisition of open space acquisition, and the preservation of historic properties.

At the campaign party for Trump in Braintree, as results streamed in late Tuesday, backers broke into chants of “Lock her up!” — one of the closing rallying cries for the GOP.

Before the polls closed, Sarah Evans, 22, who works at a local software company and is not enrolled in a political party, said she planned to vote for Clinton, whom she described as merely the best of limited options. Evans stood in a line of hundreds outside the Nazzaro Community Center in the North End. The line wound down North Bennet Street and around the corner onto Salem Street.

Evans said she hopes this election will serve as “a wake-up call” for the country.


“I feel like people took this as reality TV rather than actual reality, and now people are like ‘Oh, wait, this is the choice we have?’ ” said Evans.

At a Boston party hosted by Democrats and opponents of the charters question, Democrats were momentarily fired up after union leaders cheered the defeat of the ballot measure, and state Senator Thomas M. McGee, the party’s chairman, said they would all stay together to witness history that night.

But the room started clearing out not long afterward, as CNN, viewed on three massive screens in the ballroom, began calling a steady flow of states for Trump.

Those who remained cheered for Clinton when she won Democratic strongholds. But other supporters wandered around with wine glasses, with one pair asking each other questions about how the race had gotten to that point.

There were no statewide elected officials on the ballot Tuesday. Of the 200 legislative seats, only 58 were contested, according to the State House News Service.

Massachusetts voters, for the first time this year, capitalized on a 10-day period of early voting. Secretary of State William F. Galvin said Monday that more than 1 million people had voted.

Laura Krantz and Matt Rocheleau of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Jim O’Sullivan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JOSreports.