Voting at Fenway brings out a diverse community

Voters turn out to Fenway Community Center, the polling place for residents in Ward 5, Precinct 2 on Tuesday morning. Photo by Camila Beiner/BU News Service

By Camila Beiner
BU News Service

BOSTON– Residents in Fenway kicked off Tuesday’s election on a relatively cold morning, slowly filing Fenway Community Center at Ward 5 and Precinct 2 to cast their ballots. There were no lines at the center and people from various ages and ethnic backgrounds seemed excited to come out and vote.

The election was particularly concerning for residents working in public health-related fields, who went to the polls on Tuesday supporting the same candidates. 

Most voters interviewed focused on the issue of COVID-19, and believed Joe Biden would be the appropriate candidate to deal with the precautions needed to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. While other voters agreed Joe Biden was the most suitable candidate, they were more focused on someone who can fix the division that was created under the Trump administration. 

Among them was Courtney Townshend, 32, and her husband Patrick Field, 30, both internal medicine doctors at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, said they requested mail-in-ballots at the end of September and never received them. They decided it would be best for them to vote in-person since this is an important election year and they wanted their votes to matter. 

One of the reasons the couple voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris was the circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic. Townshend said as a doctor she works with patients who are dealing with the virus and has seen the way it has affected the hospital.

“I feel the way Donald Trump has handled the coronavirus pandemic, and the way he would continue to handle it going forward if he was re-elected would not benefit the American people in any way,” Townshend said. “It does not seem like he has much of a plan or is taking things seriously at all.”

Townshend said Joe Biden wants to reunite our country, while Donald Trump uses the divisions within the country to get votes. She said this type of mindset will not move the country forward in a good way. 

“Another reason I am voting for Joe Biden is climate change because it is really something that is very clearly happening and to deny that I think is just asinine and I am very nervous about the next few decades,” Townshend said.

Field said Joe Biden and Kamala Harris overall will be better for the entire population because they have ideas that will benefit the country as a whole and not just certain individuals like it does now under the Trump administration.

“Personally, I just think Donald Trump is a bad person,” Field said. 

Manny Acosta, 30, who works in marketing and data for the Boston Medical Center, said two of the main issues that prompted him to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, was the way Donald Trump handled the coronavirus pandemic and the division he has created in the country. 

“We have had four years to see what Donald Trump can do, and he has not really proven anything,” Acosta said. “I believe Joe Biden is pretty well proven and I think his time with the Obama administration was pretty successful.”

Acosta said when Joe Biden was vice president the country was way more united. He said Kamala Harris also has an excellent resume that proves to him they will make a good tandem to deal with the issues the country is facing. 

In regards to international policy, “Kamala Harris would be more level-headed in dealing with other countries and facilitating peaceful conversations and collaborations,” Acosta said, “and I do not think Donald Trump has that same ability.”

If Joe Biden and Kamala Harris win this election, they will set this country on a better course, Acosta said. 

Meredith Colella, 34, an anesthesiologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, came out to vote early on Tuesday after a night shift at the hospital. Colella said she wants someone smart to be making decisions for the whole country so she voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

“Donald Trump has been a complete disaster dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and it is going to continue to get worse than it was last spring,” Colella said. “I work in the hospital and the coronavirus pandemic has been a nightmare and I just do not trust the Republicans to deal with it.”

Colella said the country needs smart public health measures where there are restrictions and recurrent lockdowns until a vaccine is available. She said then the country needs a reliable, trustworthy mechanism for distributing that vaccine, which will not occur under Donald Trump.

Kaitlin O’Mealey, 25, who works in marketing for Athena health, voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. She said she believes in basic human rights and if Donald Trump is re-elected as a president, people’s rights will continue to be stripped away. 

“If Donald Trump stays as president we will continue to be divided,” O’Mealey said. “If Joe Biden is president hopefully he can bring people together and allow us to move in the right direction.” 

She said she wants an administration where all people including women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community will continue to advance forward. 

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