Voters not shy about voicing their opinions

PANOPLY OF SIGNS — People were bombarded with campaign signs for mayoral and City Council candidates as they made their way to the polling station at the Franklin Institute in the South End Tuesday.
John Tlumacki/Globe Staff
PANOPLY OF SIGNS — People were bombarded with campaign signs for mayoral and City Council candidates as they made their way to the polling station at the Franklin Institute in the South End Tuesday.

Voters brought a range of concerns to the polls: public schools, crime, housing, but also their gut feelings about particular candidates. Here are some of their voices from around the city.

Dudley Square, Roxbury: At lunchtime, as voters made their way out of the polls at the Yawkey Boys & Girls Club, there was a lot of talk of education and social programs, gut feeling and tough choices, but no clear favorite for mayor.

Lorenda Hollins, a 43-year-old health worker, said she found the decision so tricky that she spent time on the computer before coming to the polls, rereading the candidates’ positions.

“It was a tough decision, but I voted for Connolly,” she said. “I like the fact that he’s married, well educated, went to Harvard, and he’s seeking to better our school system. And I like the idea of breaking up the BRA. They have terrible communications in the community. You turn around, and there’s a new project going up.”


George Turner, 79, voted for Walsh, saying that what pushed him toward the candidate was his endorsements from many of the elected officials in the communities of color.

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Aisha Payne, 20, was voting in her first mayoral election. She said she had a tough time voting against Walsh —“He sent my mother an oven mitt”— but ultimately decided to cast her ballot for Connolly because she thought too many of the Walsh supporters were in it for the promise of landing jobs on his coattails.

Then there were those who went with their guy. “I think he’s the man for the job,” James Williams, 68, said of Walsh. “He just looks like he’s the man.”

Jasmine Talbert, 33, said her gut told her the opposite. “I just feel better about Connolly.’’




Boston Public Library, Copley Square: Ward 5 voters cast ballots in two fluorescent-lit conference rooms on the library’s lower level. By 12:45 p.m., 341 voters in Precinct 8 and 361 voters in Precinct 7 had turned out.

On the sidewalk outside, parking signs were festooned with campaign posters, and a couple of volunteers from City Council races held signs for their candidates. The mayoral campaigns had no pollstanders.

Judie Pierce, who works at Saks Fifth Avenue and described herself as “over 70,” said she voted for John R. Connolly.

“I think he’s better qualified,” she said. “I think he’d be a better mayor. I think he represents a broader spectrum of people. It seems as though Marty Walsh is labor connected; I think John Connolly is looking at a bigger picture.”




Honan-Allston Branch Library: Maybe it was the candy. Ward clerks at the Honan-Allston Branch Library, who served up Tootsie rolls and mints to voters as they checked in to cast their ballots, said voting was brisk.

The three precincts there recorded more than 400 voters by shortly before noon. Among those casting a ballot was Richard Gallagher, a 50-year-old painter sporting a black Local 577 union jacket.

“I’d rather vote for Menino, he’s been a good mayor,” Gallagher said. He said he voted for Martin J. Walsh because “he’s for unions.”

Also voting was James Jacobs, the 52-year-old nighttime host at WGBH Radio. A recent New York City transplant, Jacobs said he moved to Boston to get his dream job, “but I can’t afford to live here.”

Jacobs said he hoped the next mayor will “do something for affordable housing,” though he said he had not heard much talk of that from either mayoral candidate. He declined to say whom he voted for.



Holy Name School, West Roxbury: The scene was festive and busy. Dozens of union workers for Martin J. Walsh waved signs around the Holy Name rotary, while Connolly supporters complained quietly about whether the Walsh crews were from labor organizations outside the city.

Voters said they were excited to elect a new mayor after so many years with Menino in office, and many seemed strongly loyal to their candidate. Marrena Lindberg, 47, said she is “a progressive person’’ who voted because she does not want more “conservative’’ candidates in office.

“I support labor, and I don’t like charter schools,’’ said Lindberg, who voted for Walsh.

Emily Engler, 34, said she has known Connolly a long time and is a supporter.

“I grew up with his family. John was always focused on doing good.’’ Engler said she “really liked Menino, but it was time for him to go. No matter how well someone is doing they get stale.’’

She said certain neighborhoods, including Mattapan and even parts of Hyde Park, where the mayor lives, need more ideas.

“I vote in every single election,’’ she said. “But for a non-presidential election, this is pretty good turnout.’’



Curley Community Center, South Boston: Supporters for Martin J. Walsh and John R. Connolly were out in force, and turnout was steady around lunchtime.

Bethany Vaughn, 37, a former teacher who is now a stay-at-home mother, said she supported Connolly.

“I was really undecided till I saw a post on Facebook by a friend,” she said. “Some of the comments by Connolly supporters really hit home for me. Up until that, I thought I was going to vote for Walsh. I’m a new parent, so schools are important to me.

“I also think the violence in the neighborhoods is especially concerning. I honestly thought they had very similar platforms, so I don’t think they will have a hard time reaching out [to opposition]. It really boils down to how well they work with other people and the relationships they build.”

She also voted for Suzanne Lee in her effort to unseat District 2 Councilor Bill Linehan. “I’m a bit of a feminist, so I like to support female candidates,” Vaughan said.