Some voters confident, others unsure of choice for mayor

By Claire Giangrave
BU News Service

Boston–The Boston Public Library opened its doors at 7 a.m. for the preliminary mayoral and City Council election that will narrow numerous candidates to just a few. Standing in front of the entrance,  several groups encouraged people on the busy street to vote for one candidate or another. A small bulldog wearing a “vote Josh Zachim” vest to protect it from the cold morning air was among the promoters.

Susan Kennedy, the warden at the polling site, said that it was a slow morning, with up to 127 people coming in between opening time and 10 am. She expected more people to come during non-working hours, though.

Gary, 57, who voted for mayoral candidate Dan Conley, said that when he voted, “it was not crowded at all, there was no line. There were no people there.”

Many people came with a precise idea of who they were voting for and why. Alice ,22, and her mother said they both voted for Dan Conley because they liked what he had done for Boston, especially the great improvement in the safety of the city as the District Attorney. “I think he is a good choice,” Alice said.

Dan, 50, who works in television production, said he voted for City Councilor,  Mike Ross.

“I have served on different boards on Back Bay and he showed up for everything!” Dan said. “Anyone who shows up to the most boring things in the world, and doesn’t have to, deserves my vote,” he said.

A worker at the U.S. Attorney’s Office said he voted for Connolly for mayor and Michael Nichols and Michelle Wu for City Council because he knows them well and is friends with them.

Standing in front of the polling location in the frigid air was Michael Nichols’ father, who encouraged all those passing by to vote for his son.

Nichols, a City Council candidate in District 8,  said that he lived near the Boston University south campus.  He stressed the concept of “generational responsibility” and the importance of people occupying leadership roles to set up better a lifestyle for the future. He was also interested in providing the city of Boston with late night transportation, not just for students but also for people working late-night shifts. “We are falling behind in the quality of our education,” he said, adding that he intends to act in order to improve its standards.

Even though many voters had their minds set, not everyone was clear on the choices behind their vote. Michael, 73, an academic, admitted after voting for Felix Arroyo, “I am not sure why. It was hard to tell the difference between all of these candidates.”

The number of candidates for the mayoral race amounts to a dozen, and the issues that are at the forefront of the debate are very much the same: mainly education, public housing, and reviving the economy. The polling warden later said, “Especially for old people, it is very tough,” and that they had placed sample ballots on the walls to aid in the voting process.

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