When Newton residents took to the polls during early voting for mayor and Newton City Council, many voters had issues such as zoning and education on their minds.
As of Friday morning, 1,193 voters cast their ballots during early in-person voting, which was held at Newton City Hall from Monday through Saturday of last week. About 4,400 to 4,500 voters sent in mail-in ballots, according to the City Clerk’s Office.
Residents were able to vote early in elections for mayor, ward councilor, councilor-at-large, and school committee. Mayor Ruthanne Fuller is seeking re-election against former Newton City Councilor Amy Mah Sangiolo.
Voters can still cast their ballot on election day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday at designated polling locations throughout Newton. Drop boxes for mail-in ballots are located at city hall, according to Newton’s website.
Many voters said they chose to vote early in order to avoid the crowds often encountered when voting on election day.
“It gives people a chance to come out and then really look at the issues as opposed to rushing at the last minute to vote,” Newton resident Tyrone Powell said.
David Geffen said that early voting is important because not everybody has the time to stand in line on Tuesday. Garak Spicer echoed this sentiment, saying that early voting allows for greater accessibility and flexibility.
“I think you should be able to vote when it’s convenient,” Geffen said.
In this election, Spicer said that she is concerned with the building of new infrastructure and the high volume of traffic in the city. She said she wants the city to keep running smoothly.
For Sharlene Finkel, she said her main concern while voting was the construction of a 99-unit assisted living facility that will be built near her home on Boylston St.
“That’s my priority because we weren’t given advance notice of it,” Finkel said.
According to Finkel, she voted to show her overall satisfaction with the city.
“I think it’s a great city,” Finkel said. “I’ve raised my family here, I have felt that the schools were good … and I like how they’re working on green space, and, you know, we’ve tried to be a caring community.”
Resident Dale Smith said she would like to see changes in the city’s representation. She said she wants to see affordable housing become less controlled by developers seeking profits and instead more reflective of the city’s goals. She also expressed her concern for Newton’s public schools.
“I would like to have more investment in the schools and more investment in the students who learn differently, who are in the middle, and who I feel don’t get paid enough attention,” Smith said.
During this election season, Powell said that there are a lot of controversial issues being raised, including employment, issues related to race, health care benefits, and COVID-19 vaccines. He also said that this election, as well as larger state and federal elections, are dependent on the involvement of young people.
“I’m hoping that younger people today will start giving thought to the future,” Powell said.
Featured Image by Keara Hanlon / Heights Senior Staff