The lines were long at Sanford and Springvale polling locations before doors opened at 7:00 a.m. City Clerk Sue Cote opened the polls an hour earlier than usual, due to the expected heavy turnout.
Several voters waited in the vestibule at St. Ignatius Hall in Ward 2, as outside, the line stretched down the hill toward Gateway Park.
Harriett Cognato was first in line to cast her ballot there, arriving at 5:30 a.m. She made the choice to vote on Election Day rather than take part in early or absentee voting. “I always do, I like to come to the polls,” she said. “I’m not afraid of the virus. I’m careful, but not afraid.”
The tradition of voting on Election Day was also important to other voters we spoke to. “It’s what I’ve always done,” said one man who wished to remain anonymous. Roderick Pippin added, “I believe that’s the right way to do it.”
Monique Clough was surprised by the number of people waiting to get in to vote. “I didn’t think there’d be that many people here,” she said.
Inside, the poll workers had everything in readiness. New single voting booths, purchased with grant money from the Center for Tech and Civic Life, were spaced six feet apart. The ballot clerks were a noticeably younger group than in previous elections. Plexiglass shields installed at the check-in tables provided an additional measure of safety.
We stopped by the Nasson Community Center in Springvale, the Ward 1 polling place, at 7:15, and found a long line of people waiting to vote there as well.
One anonymous voter said he was casting his ballot on Election Day for practical reasons. “I’ve been very busy with the family,” he said.
Pam Moesinger had another reason for waiting until today. “I want to make sure my vote goes into the machine. I don’t trust the mail or human counters.”
Back at St. Ignatius, the line moved quickly once the polls opened. By 7:30, there were no voters waiting outside.