Roxbury voters most concerned about ballot questions

A voter and child leaving the polling station in Roxbury. Photo by Allison Miller / BU News Service

By Allison Miller and Ashley Griffin
BU News Service

ROXBURY — This midterm election, Roxbury residents expressed the most concern regarding Massachusetts’ three ballot questions — especially those concerning their own jobs or safety for members of the community, such as Question 1, addressing nursing staffing, and Question 3, addressing transgender rights.

More than 550 people voted by 9:00 a.m. Tuesday at the Yawkey Club of Roxbury on Warren Street. Massachusetts voters defeated Question 1 and approved Question 3. Question 2, which addressed political spending, was also approved.

One Roxbury polling location was the Boys & Girls Club/Yawkey Club on Warren Street near Dudley Square. Photo By Allison Miller / BU News Service

David Price, a 25-year-old videographer and Roxbury resident, said he felt all of the ballot questions were significant.

“It was important for me to come out here and vote for transgender rights, and corporations aren’t people, and the nurses bill,” Price said. “I’m personally affected by of all those in some capacity.”

Other voters, like Price, were motivated to the polls by Question 3, which challenges the current law that protects transgender individuals from discrimination in public spaces. The current law allows transgender people to enter gender-designated areas (such as restrooms), based on their gender identity.

Kathy Traylor, a 66-year-old social service worker from Roxbury, said her job had made her sensitive to the potential dangers to which transgender people may be exposed if the law is repealed.

“I’m very concerned about transgender people,” Traylor said. “I think that in our society we tend to label people, and we don’t need to label people. People are who they are, and we need to be accepting of them.”

Grayson Thomas, a 28-year-old health insurance worker who lives in Roxbury, also voted to uphold the anti-discrimination law described in Question 3.

“A big one was Question 3 — transgender rights,” Thomas said. “Making sure those rights are protected.”

Pollsters entering the polling station. Photo by Allison Miller / BU News Service

Roxbury residents also claimed Question 1, which addresses nursing staffing limits, was an important issue that brought them to the polls. Question 1 advocated for a limit to be placed on the number of patients assigned to each nurse in Massachusetts hospitals.

One Roxbury voter, who wished to remain anonymous due to her job, had experience as a nurse and voted “yes” on Question 1.

“In Massachusetts we have some of the best hospitals, but I think that we still have a long way to go when it comes to patient safety,” she said. “I think that this is the right question for us. Setting patient limits is totally appropriate and what we need in Mass.”

However, nursing student Tayla Fitzpatrick, 19, voted “no” on Question 1.

“I don’t know why they think that we have all this money for these nurses,” said Fitzpatrick.

Steph Sandeberg, a Roxbury resident and 27-year-old startup analyst, said she hoped her vote would impact “everything.”

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