Election turnout high
Sixty-one percent of Jamaica Plain voters headed to the polls Nov. 7, showing lots of love to governor-elect Deval Patrick and saying yes to three ballot questions that were shot down statewide.
Patrick, a Democrat, won the state with about 57 percent of the vote. Boston liked him even more, giving him 73 percent of its vote.
But JP loved Patrick, offering up 85 percent of the local vote. The distant second-place finisher, Republican Kerry Healey, didn’t stand much of a chance. In Ward 11 Precinct 7, she placed third after Green-Rainbow candidate Grace Ross.
Patrick returned some of the love last month, naming as his chief of staff Joan Wallace-Benjamin, the president and CEO of The Home for Little Wanderers, a non-profit children’s service agency with a major S. Huntington Avenue facility.
State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, embattled by legal troubles, lost the JP Democratic primary vote to a challenger. But she had no trouble here against a Republican challenger in the final election, drawing a landslide 72 percent of the local vote, similar to her district-wide winning percentage. Wilkerson lost only one precinct—Ward 19 Precinct 2—which also had JP’s highest vote total for Healey.
On the ballot questions, JP was prepared to let grocery stores sell wine (53 percent yes), allow “fusion voting” to empower third-party candidates (52 percent yes) and unionize people who run child care in their homes (71 percent yes). But voters disagreed statewide, and all three proposals died.
JP’s turnout was 20 points above that in the 2005 city election and one of the neighborhood’s strongest showings. Only two precincts had turnout below 50 percent, and most of Ward 19 (Pondside/Jamaica Hills/Forest Hills) was well over 70 percent.
It remains unclear whether the high turnout made JP a victim of the Boston Election Department’s now-infamous blunder of failing to provide enough ballots at dozens of polls. Secretary of State William Galvin is taking over supervision of Boston elections as a result.
The Ward 10 Precinct 9 poll at the James M. Curley School reportedly ran out of ballots, but was able to borrow more from the adjacent poll at the Mary E. Curley School.
The Boston Banner reported that the Ward 11 Precinct 6 poll at the Brookside Community Health Center was without ballots for an hour, causing some voters to leave. Mayor’s Office spokesperson Jennifer Mehigan said she cannot confirm problems there. She said the city is declining to release what it says is a still-incomplete list of about 30 polls that ran out of ballots.
The ballot problem came because of a city policy of providing polls only with enough ballots for 50 percent of registered voters, then delivering additional ballots if turnout was higher. Mehigan previously told the Gazette that all polls got that 50 percent amount, including some JP precincts that have had turnouts well over 50 percent in at least the last three elections.