By Tyler Chin
Voters huddled close together and bundled in down jackets and shearling-lined coats, queued up to submit their ballots in the warmth of the Jackson Mann School in Allston on election day. They formed a line that snaked down the handicap ramp to avoid blocking the sidewalk.
Bill Kelley, of the Boston School Police, patrolled the sidewalk wearing a black knit cap that offset the redness in his face. Kelley was ready to make election day at the school run as smoothly as possible. The polling location had only been opened for an hour and a half, but at least a couple hundred voters had already cast ballots, said Kelley.
“I wish we could’ve opened at 6 [a.m.],” Kelley said. “It’s been pretty calm here. I’ve been mainly helping the handicapped make it to the line OK.”
The line, comprised mainly of young college students, occasionally added an elderly person to its ranks with the help of Kelley. As one voter left the building, it seemed that two more found their way to the end of the line.
Those lined up did not speak. They patiently waited as activists appealed to them to support their cause.
“Vote yes on Question Two!” said Louise Carberry, a senior at Boston University who was passing out fact sheets in support of charter schools. Although Carberry had been out since early morning, she remained cheerful.
Standing next to Carberry was Chris Daly, a carpenter, carrying a sign urging a vote against Question Two, which would remove the cap on charter schools.
“I don’t want to see my tax dollars wasted,” said Daly. “I don’t want any money going away from the public schools.”
Despite their conflicting views on the issue, there seemed to be a mutual respect between the two, They had both been out in the frigid cold since the polls opened at 7 a.m.
Daly sees his campaigning as a way to keep busy. “This helps me stay out of the barrooms,” he quipped. “I used to find myself at the bars, but now I have something to work for.”
Two hours after Jackson Mann School opened to voters, the line began to dwindle. Only a few waited outside the door. A young man paced in front of the school, calling for voters to vote for John Keith, the independent candidate for the Suffolk County Register of Deeds. Two young women remained near the school conducting exit polls.
Kelley, who will continue to monitor activity at Jackson Mann, had yet to vote, but he planned to exercise his right when he returned home to Randolph.