By Rasheek Tabassum Mujib
Boston University News Service
BOSTON – Ken remained hopeful as the clock ticked down toward 8 p.m.
“We expect some of the working citizens to come cast their vote on their way home from work, but usually most of them come early in the morning before going to work,” said Ken, a warden at the Hill House Community polling center.
Ken said that by Tuesday afternoon, voters cast more than 600 votes in the 11th and 5th precincts of Ward 5, which was comparatively lower than average.
Despite the well-publicized mayoral race between city counselors Michelle Wu and Annissa Essaibi George, most areas of the city reported a lower turnout than average.
An election official in Fenway confirmed the trend, saying nearly half the registered voters in his ward were students, but their participation was also lower than average.
“We expected more people to come cast their votes on their way back home from work, but it’s almost 7 p.m. and the turnout has been disappointing,” she said.
Nick Sanders, warden of the Massachusetts State House voting center, was uncertain if the COVID-19 pandemic was a factor in the turnout with expectations that a majority of the ward’s votes would be mailed in.
“This is the third election we had during the pandemic, so most of our staff and voters are now familiar with the ‘new normal’ system; there have been no challenges regarding the COVID situation so far,” Sanders said.
At the Statehouse polling center, an older woman and her husband, Boston residents for 50 years, also noticed the scarcity of voters.
“It seems the turnout has been lower than the average years,” said the woman who declined to give her name. “The turnout was much higher in the last elections.”
She did offer that the couple voted for Essaibi George.
“We’re centrists,” she said.
Sanders said voters in the Beacon hill district were more likely to be senior citizens and white Americans. But that demographic didn’t vote in lockstep.
“I voted for Wu, I think she has a new and different perspective about how to change the city,” said Anna, another senior citizen who has been living in Boston for 50 years. “I feel like she will bring about new changes in the transportation sector and I’m looking forward to that.”