By Tara Vocino
Poll workers said they’ve never seen anything like it while reading over the results at City Hall late Tuesday night.
“We had double lines out the door and around the building,” Ward 1, Precinct 3 Warden of 7 years Clara Lander said. “It was unbelievable how many new voters who weren’t on the list came in.”
Poll worker of five years Barbara Saul, who was also serving the Recreation Center area, estimated that she and her team registered a quarter of new voters, up from 715 to 1,350 people. “We’re happy to serve them, but it was hectic,” Saul said. “We encourage residents not to wait until Election Day to register to vote – you can do it online, at the Registry of Motor Vehicles inside the Election Office or through the census.”
Arriving at 6:30 a.m., they said all poll locations had a constant influx of voters throughout the day from morning to night.
Saul said she was surprised to see that there were only 214 Yeses on Question 1 with 463 Nos for her ward. Voters rejected Question 1, the ballot measure that would have set new mandatory nurse staffing levels for patients in hospitals. The proposal, which was backed by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, would have set new limits on nurse-to-patient ratios in the state and required hospitals to hire hundreds of new nurses. Question 1 has generated much discussion on social media and during City Council meetings.
“My nephew was in the Intensive Care unit, and I talked to a Registered Nurse while there,” Saul said. “He explained that doctors and pharmaceuticals receive more money, if it passes.”
Saul was happy to see that Question 2 in her ward let things stay the way that they are with 450 Yeses and 191 Nos. Voters approved Question 2, a one-of-a-kind ballot measure that puts Massachusetts at the front of a national effort to limit the influence of money in politics.
And for Question 3 in her ward, she was glad to see 391 Yeses over 257 Nos. Massachusetts ballot Question 3, which keeps the law that forbids discrimination based on gender identity in places of public accommodation, passed by a clear margin Tuesday night. This Question has also been heavily talked about on social media.
“I don’t know any personally, but I know of some who are friends of the family,” Saul said. “I understand where they’re coming from.”
Sixty-six percent of voters supported Question 4 with 20 percent voting against. There were 14 percent blank votes. Question 4 asked if the state representative from this district shall be instructed to vote in favor of the Global Warming Solutions Implementation Act, which would require the state to create a clean energy roadmap for meeting the 2050 emissions limits, which were set by the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008, including detailed modeling and analysis, interim- and sector-specific emissions limits, and market-based compliance mechanisms.
And finally, Question 5 asked if the state representative from this district should be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would repeal the $45,000 increase in annual compensation for the Speaker of the House of Representatives enacted in House No. 58 by the 190th General Court; prohibit elected officials and their senior staff from engaging in any lobbying activity for five years once they leave office; and enact a rule that no member shall hold, for more than eight consecutive years, the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Fifty-seven percent of voters supported Question 5 with 27 percent voting against. There were 16 percent blank votes.
Incumbents Gov. Charlie Baker and State Senator Joe Boncore (D-Winthrop) were elected, and Rachael Rollins became the first African American woman and the first black woman to be elected District Attorney in Massachusetts and the first female District Attorney of Suffolk County.
“I am humbled by the trust the voters have placed in me to serve as Suffolk County’s next District Attorney,” Rollins said late Tuesday. “I am beyond grateful for the hard work of our volunteers and the support of our community over the last nine months since we launched this campaign. Voters sent a very clear signal today that our criminal justice system is not working for too many people, and it’s time for a change.”
Rollins said that they will start by creating an office that adequately reflects the communities it serves and that is engaged with every neighborhood within the county. Then, together they’ll make the criminal justice system better by working to strengthen relationships between communities and law enforcement.
As Suffolk County District Attorney, she will seek to keep communities safe and ensure justice for victims. Rollins is committed to improving the criminal justice system through best practices and data-driven programs that prioritize equity and justice. That includes focusing on treatment, not prosecution, for those swept up in the justice system for minor crimes. This will also allow prosecutors to focus more resources on the serious crimes that truly undermine public safety, like domestic violence, sexual assault, gun violence and homicides.