By Alex Macdougall
BU News Service
WORCESTER, MASS — The final day of early voting concluded in the City of Worcester, Mass. on Nov. 2, with dark gray skies and light drizzling throughout the day. But that did not stop hundreds of voters from turning out to vote.
For only the second time, Massachusetts voters were eligible to sign up for early voting, which allows them to cast their ballot before the official voting day of Nov. 6. In Worcester, voting takes place in a single location that rotates each day of the week, with the final day taking over Worcester State University’s May Street Building.
For many candidates, early voting provides an opportunity to get their message out. On the final day, some stood outside Worcester State University, holding up signs in support of their campaigns.
“I stand outside every day,” said Joanne Powell, who is running for clerk of courts for Worcester County. “Everyone in the city has to come to the same location, so it’s a great way to meet new people.”
Powell was joined outside by Kate Campanale, a Republican member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives who is running for Register of Deeds for the Worcester District.
“It’s a matter of convenience,” said Campanale. “I voted early because I’ll be campaigning all day on Election Day, so it works out for me as well.”
Local politicians are not the only ones trying to get residents of Worcester to vote early. On Nov. 1, a rally at Worcester’s Clark University featured speakers such as the Democratic candidate for governor, Jay Gonzalez and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, in an attempt to garner support to vote early.
Democrats are looking to take back seats in the Senate and House of Representatives and are hoping that 2018 will not be a repeat of 2016, in which Republicans dominated and over 100 million people chose not to vote in the election.
However, early estimates from Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin suggest that around 500,000 people voted early, down from the more than one million who voted in 2016.
But the Nov. 1 rally worked for Laura Foster, a social worker who voted right after listening to Sen. Warren’s speech. On Friday, Foster stood outside the May Street building, holding a sign in support of incumbent District Attorney Joe Early, Jr.
“It really helps people who are elderly, have children, or are handicapped,” said Foster. “My daughter works two jobs and has a baby and something like this just helps her so much.”
Not to be outdone, Early’s opponent for district attorney, Blake Rubin, also stood outside with a group of supporters holding signs. For Rubin, it was a way to show his dedication to his candidacy.
“Trying to get the message out is extremely important as a candidate,” said Rubin, who stood outside every early voting location throughout the week. “It’s also a good way to meet voters, answer their questions and tell them what they need to know.”