Somerville voters express concerns as they line up to cast ballots

Voters at Albert F. Argenziano school in Somerville wait to cast their ballots just before polls open at 7 a.m. Photo by John Terhune/BU News Service

By John Terhune
BU News Service

Voters in Somerville expressed fear that the presidential election results would be illegitimate as polls opened on Tuesday morning.

“I think the fix is in already,” said Joseph Costa, 61, who voted for Donald Trump. “I think this country is going down faster than you thought.”

Costa was one of around 50 voters who lined up to cast their ballots at the Albert F. Argenziano School in Union Square when polls opened at 7 a.m.

But even as Costa worried that voter fraud would propel Joe Biden to victory, Democratic voters voiced concern that the Trump administration would try to steal the election.

“There are active efforts to suppress voters,” said Jacob Abrams, who works in tech sales. “This is confirmed. We know this.”

Abrams and other Biden supporters said they expected to hear reports of voter intimidation and attempts to throw out votes in the courts.

Joseph Costa, 61, heads home after casting a vote for Trump. “We have to come together as a nation,” said Costa. Photo by John Terhune/BU News Service

Fear of foul play compelled Somerville residents across the political spectrum to vote in person on Tuesday, even as the pandemic fueled record early voting numbers.

“I got a little freaked out about the USPS news,” said Sean Simon, an engineer. Fearing mail-in ballots might not get counted, he felt it was his duty to vote in person because he is at low risk of contracting a severe case of the coronavirus.”

“I’m healthy,” said Simon. “I can get sick.”

Older voters like David Park, 67, trusted the government’s safety measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at the polls.  

“I thought there would be enough safeguards in place,” said Park. “I felt absolutely safe.”

Voters were more concerned about the outcome of the election. Many Biden supporters thought the race would come down to the wire despite the candidate’s lead in national polls.

Evan Patton, a researcher at MIT, was confident that Biden would receive the most votes nationally but thought that he might still lose the Electoral College, as Hillary Clinton did in 2016.

Other Democratic voters joined Patton in his reluctance to celebrate early.

When asked who he thought would win the election, software engineer Hugh Whelan answered, “Probably Biden,” before stopping himself. “I guess that’s more of a hope than a prediction.”

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