Residents braved long lines, cold temps in big turnout

By 
Tayla Holman, Special to the Reporter
Nov. 8, 2012

The Chittick School: Voters were lined up outside the huge double precinct on the Mattapan-Hyde Park line all day on Tuesday. The Chittick School: Voters were lined up outside the huge double precinct on the Mattapan-Hyde Park line all day on Tuesday.

Dorchester and Mattapan residents braved temperatures in the 30s to cast their vote in the presidential election on Tuesday. Some waited in lines for half an hour or longer, but there were few complaints as voters chatted among themselves and left polling places with “I Voted” stickers on their jackets.

In Ward 18, precincts 6 and 21 reported to the Chittick Elementary School on Ruskindale Road. State Rep. Linda Forry introduced herself to voters as they waited in a line that stretched halfway down the street around lunchtime, which is usually one of the quieter times at the polls.

There was no real lull this time. The double-precinct produced more than 2,555 votes for President Obama when the day was done. Elizabeth Warren posted a large total herself: 2,508.

A car with an “Elizabeth Warren for Senate” poster attached to the side and a speaker attached to the roof urged voters to reelect President Obama and Vice President Biden, and to elect Warren.

Hyde Park residents Rodney Bell and Acquilla Deberry, both of whom voted in the 2008 election, said the voting process went smoothly.

“I didn’t have any problems,” Bell said. “It was pretty easy, but I remembered it from the last time I voted.”

Deberry said the process went smoothly for her as well, but she did get tripped up on one of the four ballot questions.

“I didn’t understand one of the questions,” Deberry said. “So I had to go back and fix it. But other than that, it was fine.”

Valerie Almeida, president and founder of the Roseberry Ruskindale Neighborhood Association, said there were some people weren’t happy about how long they had to wait in the cold.

“I told them, ‘Be glad you’re not in New York or New Jersey,” she said. Those states were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy last week, and are still recovering from the damage. In New Jersey, voting was extended until Friday to accommodate those affected by the hurricane.

Almeida also said, “Once those people got inside, though, they felt a little better. The line moved a little slow, but it picked up.”

Ward 18, precinct 2, and Ward 17, precincts 2 and 7 reported to the Mildred Avenue School. Unlike at the Chittick there were no lines outside, but voters entered the gym confused about where to check in and get their ballots.

Sidney Clarke, a Mattapan resident who is originally from Jamaica, said the process wasn’t as daunting as he thought.

“I expected it to be more difficult, but all you have to do is fill in bubbles,” he said. Clarke said it was important for him to vote for President Obama because he didn’t trust Mitt Romney.

“He is tricky,” Clarke said. “He’s no good, and I don’t want him in office.”

By day's end, the Mildred Ave. precincts combined to deliver nearly 2,000 votes for both the president and Warren.

At the Groveland Senior Center on Mary Beatty Circle, lines were short, but the small voting area filled up quickly. Todd Mathies, a Mattapan resident, said it could have gotten chaotic in such a small space, but the election officers were efficient.

“They knew what they were doing, and they made sure they got to everyone who needed help,” Mathies said.

Christian Nurse, a Dorchester resident, said he voted when polls opened at 7 a.m., but came back later in the day with his grandmother.

“I voted for Obama and Lizzy [Warren],” Nurse said. “I wouldn’t have voted any other way.”

The Groveland Senior Center's two precincts bundled to give the president 2,409 votes (to Romney's 57) while Warren garnered 2,367 to Brown's 97.