Brighton-Allston voters discuss ballot questions

Dennis Donoghue, left, and Mary Mi hold signs encouraging voters to vote “Yes” on question 2: ranked-choice voting. Photo by Caroline Bowden/BU News Service

By Saumya Rastogi
BU News Service

BOSTON – “Yes on 2” was a striking signboard held across the street from the Oak Square YMCA, where people had to come to vote in-person at Brighton-Allston polling booths. 

In the chilly breeze, an English teacher, Zach Rocker, holding the sign up in the air, said that ranked choice voting would mean their candidate would win majority support. 

“I disliked both parties, so if we can get ranked-choice voting into federal action, it would not make me feel like my vote was wasted,” said Rocker, who voted for the Green Party. 

Voting yes on ranked choice voting, ballot question number 2, would mean voters rank candidates by order of preference. It would be used in all Massachusetts state elections. There would be rounds of counting, with candidates with the lowest vote counts eliminated in each round until one candidate received a majority. 

At Jackson Mann School in Allston, Mary Mi, who used to work at Boston University, said that everybody would want the winning candidate to get maximum votes.

“If your first choice voter gets the lowest score out of all the candidates, your vote is assigned to the second choice. This happens until everybody is okay with what everybody wants,” she added.

Standing outside in the cold fall weather, Mi urged voters to pay attention to the issue. 

“In the fourth congressional district races, we had seven candidates on the ballot. And the person who won got about 20% of the votes,” she said, referencing Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District Democratic primary on September 1, 2020 when Jake Auchincloss defeated six candidates after receiving 22% of the vote.

For Emily Solano, immigration is why she exercised her vote. 

“My father is from El Salvador, so he just became a citizen last year,” said Solano. “He voted for the first time through the dropbox ballot.”

With her third-time voting in-person, she took a liking to the process.

“It’s proven that masks are safe as long as we socially distance,” Solano added.

Cristian Martipena, an undergraduate student at Northeastern University, said that climate change is the biggest issue for him. 

“I see a lot of cities becoming more and more prone to disaster,” he said. “We think of cities as impenetrable places, but global warming is here, and it’s here to stay. So it is something one needs to tackle.”

Martipena voted yes on question 3 of the ballot, which asked whether the district representative would be required to favor policies that would require Massachusetts to achieve 100% renewable energy within the next two decades. 

Martipena was impressed by the safety measures the polling location took to keep voters safe. 

“As soon as you get around the corner, you have little X’s marked where you are supposed to stand,” he said. “And once you go inside, you find people to guide you. It is very easy.”

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