No Surprises in Charlestown Vote

By Seth Daniel

Kevin and Patti Staley did their best to get out of the house early on Tuesday morning – an effort they thought might help them elude the long lines they anticipated at the Harvard Kent School polling place.

Both said with a laugh on Tuesday morning, as they stood at the end of the 45-minute-long line, that they hadn’t gotten around as quickly as hoped, but that might not have made a difference anyhow.

“I wanted to get here as early as possible, but it didn’t happen,” said Kevin at around 8:30 a.m., noting with a laugh that he wasn’t pointing any fingers.

“He thinks it’s my fault,” laughed his wife, Patti.

But an early arrival during this blockbuster election would likely have not changed the wait times as lines at most of the polling places in Charlestown formed before 7 a.m. on Tuesday, and eager voters were patient in waiting to cast their ballots.

“I’ve got an hour and a half to take care of this and I’m told it’s a 45-minute wait, so I think we’ll get it done this morning,” he said.

The line at the Harvard Kent stretched from the door of the gymnasium all the way across the schoolyard and beyond the bus stop on the sidewalk most of the morning, never seeming to die down until later in the day.

At the Zelma Lacey, it was the same story with lines forming at 7 a.m. and still piling up by 9 a.m.

The Edwards School showed long lines early in the morning, but that had thinned out by 9 a.m. when there was no wait at that polling place.

“If the line had been beyond the Bridge, I wouldn’t have waited and I would have come back at night,” said Patti Staley. “I really see this as a good sign and it’s a good thing that people are very interested. We always vote here at the Harvard Kent and there’s never a line or anything. We’ve always just walked right in and voted. I’m glad to see so many people participating.”

Citywide, the election drew some of the highest voter registration numbers in decades, with 415,536 voters registered in the City of Boston. For comparison sake, there were 387,142 registered voters for the 2012 presidential election in Boston.

Mayor Martin Walsh declared on Tuesday afternoon that early voting had been a success, with 47,909 ballots cast in early voting, representing 11.5 percent of the total registered voters.

In Charlestown, unlike the rest of the country, Democrat Hillary Clinton won by a landslide, gathering 6,947 votes to Republican Donald Trump’s 2,095 votes in the Town’s seven precincts. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson got 427 votes here.

For the questions, one of the big local questions was the Community Preservation Act, which was Question 5 on the Boston ballot. The question seeks to provide money to community projects through state and local money, with local money coming from a surcharge on property tax bills.

Question 5 passed citywide 74 percent to 26 percent.

In Charlestown, Question 5 passed with 5,518 votes to 3,122 votes.

Other local votes on ballot questions included:

•Question 1 (slots in Revere) – No won with 6,602 votes to 2,579 votes. Citywide, 63 percent voted against and 37 percent voted for.

•Question 2 (lifting the charter school cap) – No won in Charlestown with 5,454 votes against to 4,179 votes for. Citywide it was 62 percent against and 38 percent for.

•Question 3 (Cage-free animals) – Yes won overwhelmingly with 7,883 voting for and 1,711 voting against. Citywide, the tally was 81 percent for and 19 percent against.

•Question 4 (legalizing recreational marijuana) – Charlestown voted decidedly for legalization, with 5,763 voting for and 3,896 voting against. Citywide, 62 percent voted for and 38 percent voted against.

In local elections former Boston City Councilor Stephen Murphy was elected Suffolk County Register of Deeds against three Independent candidates, Joseph Donnelly and John Keith.

In Charlestown, Murphy finished the night with 5,446 votes while M. Ciampa-Coyne finished second with 1,305 Charlestown votes. Donnelly finished third with 766 votes and Keith rounded out the Charlestown vote for the office with 598 votes.

Citywide Murphy ended the night in Boston with 160,010. Ciampa-Coyne got 27,446 votes, Keith received 16,302 votes and Donnelly got 15,023.

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