By Claudia Chiappa
BU News Service
BROOKLINE, Mass. – In the early hours of Election Day, polling locations across Brookline looked mostly empty. With the majority of Brookline voters casting their ballots during early voting, voters Tuesday found no lines waiting for them.
“I thought it was going to be a lot longer line than it was, so that was nice,” said Anupam Desai, who voted for former Vice President Joe Biden at the 2nd Precinct. “I think people decided a long time ago who they were gonna vote for. The country is pretty divided at this point.”
Volunteers at polling stations said that there was a line in the morning, but it got quieter later in the day. Second Precinct Warden Barbara Sullivan said that a lot of people voted early to “get it done,” which helped contain lines on Election Day. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, locations are limited and can only allow a low number of people to vote simultaneously, so Sullivan said the huge turnout for early voting was extremely helpful.
In addition to early voting, the pandemic also played a role in encouraging people to stay home on Tuesday.
“A lot of people are opting to not come and stand in line in person,” said Desai.
Mike Samuels, 48, said he showed up at the Coolidge Corner School, the polling location for the 3rd and 8th Precincts, early in the morning because he was expecting a long wait. However, he was able to sign in and vote within a matter of minutes.
Samuels said he voted for Biden for a plethora of reasons, including “decency, accountability, democracy, equality, international standing, truth, and competency.”
He said he hopes to see a landslide victory by tonight because he believes it will help control controversy and protests.
Despite the absence of long lines, Warden James Slayton said he witnessed “robust and strong voting” today in the 4th Precinct, where over 400 people voted by 10 a.m. He said there is a strong interest in this election.
James Amirato, 21, said he was not surprised not to see a line.
“A lot of people here vote early and there’s a lot of polling locations around,” said Amirato. “I wasn’t sure what to expect but I’m not surprised. I think around here in Massachusetts voting is a really important thing they impress upon everyone from a pretty early age.”
Amirato voted for Biden in the 4th Precinct at the Brookline Town Hall.
“I hate Donald Trump and he needs to get out of office,” said Amirato. “I don’t exactly think that Biden will solve everything, but I don’t think Trump being in office will help anything even more.”
Precinct 2 Town Meeting Members Jane Piercy and John Shreffler stood in front of the Coolidge Corner Library, a polling location for the 2nd Precinct, advocating for ranked choice voting. Shreffler said ranked choice voting allows people to support more than one candidate.
“It gives everyone a voice and it ensures that the candidate with the most support can win,” Piercy said.
Both Piercy and Shreffler voted early. They said throughout the morning they saw a “steady stream” of voters coming and going.
“I think this is the election where we take our country back,” said Piercy. “It’s certainly the most important election of my lifetime.”