By Kevin Koczwara
I spent my day bouncing around five polling stations around the city of Worcester trying to understand why this election means so much to a lot of the people in the city and around the state. But more times than not it wasn’t the passion of the picketers out front, mostly joined alongside one another despite holding opposing signs, huddled together, talking and keeping warm. Instead I was struck by how impressed polling clerks and wardens were by the sheer volume of voters turning out in many of the traditionally less enthusiastic voting areas.
“I think the people are coming out. I think they’re [voters] more interested than they were in the primaries,” said polling clerk Mary Ricardi at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Recreation Center about the number of voters that had strolled in by 2:30 p.m. “They’re [voters] streaming in constantly, which makes it nice.
“I think they’re interested. I guess a lot of people aren’t too happy with some of the things going on around the country, They are probably even problems that were there before this new president [Barack Obama] got in. I don’t know, people probably want a few changes maybe. I think basically people want to see if they [the government] can do something a little different.”
It wasn’t only at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel that I heard of the impressive number of voters getting out and voicing their opinion. At the Shaw’s in Webster Plaza off of Stafford St., ballot clerk Barbarinann Thibault said this mid-term election was closer to a “Presidential Election” at the polling station inside the supermarket.
Thibault, 70 years old, has been working at Ward 7, Precinct 2’s election station for 10 years now and she was excited by the number of voters turning out. She believes that with the number issues facing the country at this time that voters want to voice their opinion and the turnout at the end of the night will be much improved over the poor numbers from the September Primaries, and part of the better turnout could be due to all the advertising money splashed around by the candidates and partisan groups.
“Advertising helped get people [to the polls]. Especially all of the television and radio advertisements,” said Thibault.
Only the final tallies will determine just how many voters turned out to vote and who wins. But for some of the ballot workers, the sheer number of people getting to the polling stations makes this mid-term a success no matter who is declared the winner.