Unlike the playground games of your childhood, when it comes to casting a vote early in Massachusetts, there’s no take-backs and no do-overs — you only get one shot.
For constituents who cast their votes for Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg — who both dropped out ahead of the Massachusetts primary on Super Tuesday, and endorsed former vice president Joe Biden — that means the deal is done.
“If you voted early, you can’t do anything," Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin said Monday. “It’s over.”
Andover resident Tim Walsh, who cast his vote early for Buttigieg last month said he was experiencing “exactly both of those feelings at once.”
“I do have mixed emotions. I kind of wished I’d waited," the 43-year-old said. "But at the same time I did vote my conscience and I voted for my guy.”
This year marked the first time Massachusetts voters were able to cast ballots early for a presidential primary. There was a five-day window of opportunity between Feb. 24 and 28.
According to Galvin spokeswoman Debra O’Malley, there were 225,000 early ballots cast before Tuesday’s election. Of those, she said, 190,000 were Democratic ballots and 34,000 were Republican.
For voters who made their decisions ahead of time, their ballots were no different than casting an Election Day vote, she said in a statement: “Early voters cannot take their ballots back," regardless of if their candidate bowed out.
For voters who sent in an absentee ballot, there’s still hope.
“If a voter sent in an absentee ballot and they are able to go to their polling place, they can vote in person if their absentee ballot hasn’t been put into the ballot box yet,” she said. “If an absentee voter votes at their polling place, their absentee ballot will be rejected.”
That won’t be the case for Anna Flaherty, who voted early for Buttigieg because she was going to be out of town on the day of the primary.
Flaherty was in Michigan on Sunday when she heard the news that Buttigieg was suspending his campaign following Biden’s landslide victory in the South Carolina primary. She was crushed, she said.
“This is my first election being old enough to vote so I was over the moon to cast my first ballot,” the Boston College student said in a message to the Globe. “I asked around to see if there was some sort of procedure for a situation like mine and I found nothing. Right now I feel like I have wasted my vote and I’ve lost my say in the Democratic Primary.”
Dimitry Frederique, of Boston, also voted for Buttigieg during the early voting period. On Tuesday, the 45-year-old said he was full of regret.
“I feel like it was a waste of my vote,” he said. “I don’t think I’d do that again.”
Even though Frederique was feeling “annoyed" that Buttigieg was out, he said he felt a bit of redemption in knowing that his candidate of choice backed Biden for the presidency, since it was “who he would have most-likely picked next.”
For Jessie Stuart, a resident physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, voting early seemed like the best option. She was scheduled to be on call during the primary, and the convenience of putting her name down for Buttigieg in advance was an efficient and enticing option.
By Super Tuesday, however, as she worked her shift, a trace of annoyance had settled in.
“The sentimental part of me is proud of who I voted for,” she said, adding that she’d backed Buttigieg since last spring. “But it is frustrating that my vote is not going to matter."