Local elected officials weigh in on presidential election, ballot questions

As the country awaits the outcome of the presidential race, many of the city and state’s elected officials have spoken out in support of the democratic process, saying it’s important that every vote is counted. 

As of election night, the City reported that nearly 83 percent of Boston voters voted for Joe Biden, while 15.64% voted for Donald Trump. Mayor Marty Walsh said on Wednesday that the turnout in Boston was 63.51 percent, slightly down from the 66.75 percent turnout in 2016. 

It was also reported that almost 75 percent of Bostonians voted “YES” on Question 1, which expands access to motor vehicle mechanical data, and that nearly 62 percent of voters voted “YES” on Question 2, which would create ranked-choice voting in the state of Massachusetts. Statewide, voters voted “YES” on Question 1, but “NO” on Question 2, much to the dismay of supporters of ranked choice voting, including City Councilor Matt O’Malley.

“The next days and weeks will be stressful, but I’m confident that Vice President Biden will soon be president-elect,” O’Malley told the Gazette.

He said he is “cautiously optimistic” as votes continue to be counted in several key states across the country. “I want to make sure that every vote is counted,” he said, adding that he believes Donald Trump is “the most divisive person to ever serve as president.”

O’Malley also said he is “disappointed in the outcome of Question 2,” and said that he is “hopeful” that “we’ll continually advocate for it.”

He said he was “glad to see Question 1 passed overwhelmingly,” as he believes this will give consumers more choice when it comes to repairing their vehicles. 

Senator Chang-Diaz won her seat again in the Second Suffolk District, receiving 60,520 votes, or 98.78 percent of the vote.  

“We’re in for a long couple of days, but that’s okay. We know it takes time to count every ballot; we expected this to be the case and we’re prepared for it. It’s important to be patient as we wait for the results and to channel our energy towards ensuring the vote count we receive is full and accurate. I’m joining that fight by supporting the Protect the Results coalition and rallies downtown, in Nubian Square, at Holy Name church, and in localities across the state,” Chang-Diaz told the Gazette. 

“We’re still waiting on the results of the Electoral College, but last night made one thing clear: Joe Biden has won a moral mandate. He already won the popular vote by millions of ballots, and that’s only expected to grow as more votes are counted. In a more democratic system, that would be sufficient.”

Chang-Diaz is also a supporter of ranked-choice voting, and said that she is “deeply disappointed that Question 2 lost…Ranked choice voting had wide, bipartisan support and its passage would have been a victory for expanding voter voice in Massachusetts. The focus on the Presidential race may have made it difficult to cut through the noise, but this is a real missed opportunity to ensure fairer, more inclusive elections in our Commonwealth going forward.”

State Rep. Liz Malia also won re-election in the Eleventh Suffolk District, receiving 17,159 votes, which was 98.87 percent of the vote. Nika Elugardo kept her seat in the Fifteenth Suffolk District as well, receiving 13,854 votes, which was 98.80 percent of the vote. 

Governor Charlie Baker said at a press conference on Tuesday that he did not vote for either Donald Trump or Joe Biden, saying “I blanked it.” 

The governor, along with Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, released a statement supporting the democratic process and peaceful demonstration.

“The United States of America depends on every American having the freedom to cast their vote and for every vote to be counted,” the statement reads. “Every American, regardless of political affiliation, especially the President and every candidate on the ballot, should be united in supporting this process. Regardless of who wins this election, the challenges facing the Commonwealth and the nation remain: defeating the pandemic, rebuilding the economy, and supporting those who need help in these difficult days. When the results are finally determined, we are hopeful that all candidates, especially the two running for the most powerful office in the world, set aside partisanship to improve the lives of all Americans. While many anxiously await the results of this critically important election everyone must exercise their First Amendment right peacefully if they choose to do so, and we ask everyone to be respectful of one another.”

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