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Shaping the race; State has its turn in campaign.

COLUMN: IN OUR OPINION

It's Super Tuesday here in Massachusetts and 10 other states across the nation, and this time around the super has nothing to do with the ultimate battle for football supremacy. Rather, today's primaries and caucuses will go quite some way toward clarifying the status of the four remaining contenders for the Republican nomination for the presidency.

For the record, however, today's voting is for everyone registered to do so.

Under the rules in Massachusetts, voters registered in a political party can only take a ballot for that party. But those who are independent or unenrolled are permitted to choose a Democratic, Republican or Green-Rainbow party ballot, and may revert to their independent status after they cast that ballot.

President Barack Obama's is the only name on the Democratic ballot, and the Green-Rainbow Party will chose among candidates Dr. Jill Stein, Kent Mesplay and Harley Mikkelson. But the bulk of the attention today will focus on the GOP race. While Massachusetts voters are expected to throw the bulk of their support behind former Gov. Mitt Romney, it will be interesting to see how well Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich fare in one of Mr. Romney's strongholds.

On a broader scale, today's GOP balloting is of interest because the states in play represent an interesting cross section of the nation. There are "red" states that the GOP normally carries, including Idaho, Alaska, Wyoming and North Dakota; there are liberal enclaves, including Vermont and Massachusetts; and there are critical swing or battleground states like Ohio and Virginia that have been closely contested by Democrats and Republicans in the last several presidential elections.

Today's voting won't decide the GOP race, but it could well put Mr. Romney much closer to his goal, or mark the end of the line for one or more of his rivals. It will also be another necessary step toward giving Mr. Obama the official delegates he needs to stand for re-election.

Whatever the tallies show, it is the duty of every voter to make his or her voice heard today. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. We urge every eligible voter to cast a ballot. And for those who still haven't registered to vote might take a moment today to tune in to the political scene and consider getting involved.

All Americans enjoy the rights secured to us by a democratically elected government. But the stark reality is that that government is shaped always and only by those who show up at the polls.
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Title Annotation:EDITORIAL
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1U1MA
Date:Mar 6, 2012
Words:426
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