Early Morning Voters in Dorchester Voice Concern About Parking, Education

Signs mark the entrance to Joseph Lee School’s auditorium, where precinct 7 of ward 14 votes. Photo by Jenni Todd/BU News Service

By Jenni Todd
BU New Service

Voters in Dorchester voiced concerns about parking and education as they cast their ballots early Tuesday morning.

“I vote in every election, every primary, probably 20 some odd years,” said Michael Vance, who calls himself a super voter. 

The 58-year-old of Franklin Field was among Dorchester’s early morning voters on Tuesday, many of whom brought their dogs and children as they stopped at the polls.  

While the municipal election’s turnout has been low, Vance said polls were markedly busier than when he voted in the primary.

“I voted at the same time for the primary and I was like number four. [Today, I’m number] 20,” said Vance with a glint of excitement in his eye.

Others were voting for change in their communities.

Morris Kelley, 60, of Blue Hill Avenue, said he was worried about parking tickets.

“A lot of people in the neighborhoods are getting a lot of parking tickets,” Kelley said. 

Kelley said the financial burden of the tickets weighs on him considerably.

“It’s tough,” Kelley said. “You got to pay your bills and then it’s like a regular bill almost every month.”

Kelley said the election’s low turnout somewhat disheartened him but he believes it’s important to contribute.

“I have a 30-year-old daughter,” Kelley said. “And I used to always tell her growing up that it was important to get out and vote. And my mother pushed that on us when we were kids, too.”

Shawn Brothers, 50, of Bernard Street, who attended the elementary school where he voted, said he wants reform for Boston Public Schools.

“The Boston public schools, they’ve gone down dramatically,” Brothers said. “There’s two and three schools in one building. The kids, from what I see, aren’t going to school.”

More school programs, Brothers said, might give Boston’s kids brighter futures. He said he wanted more programs to help youths get more acclimated to work and more teen programs to prevent crime.

“The violence is out of control,” Brothers said.

Brothers worked as an election official about 16 years ago. Back then, turnout was over double what it was this morning, he said. He said he had seen 30 voters today, compared to 75 to 80 in years past. 

Brothers said he wishes more people would vote.

“I feel as though as a citizen, African-American, especially in the African-American community we should vote,” Brothers said. “If you want things to improve then you got to get out here and voice your opinion.”

Though incumbents will likely win, Brothers said, he hopes their challengers are successful.

“I definitely believe there should be new blood,” Brothers said. “I just hope that the same people you vote in don’t become the ones that you voted out.”

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