A Rainy But Enthused Midterm Election Day In Western Massachusetts

Nov 6, 2018

Many reports came in of high voter turnout in Tuesday’s midterm elections, although the weather in New England has made voting a bit less convenient.

It's hard to know if the rainy day in western Massachusetts convinced some voters to stay home. Those who did venture out to vote under umbrellas and rain gear -- like Jason Hughes of Springfield -- appeared steadfast in their civic duty.

“Didn't make it easy, but I think it's great that you can vote for what you want,” Hughes said.

Yberis Bautista, an immigrant from Guatemala, was among a trickle of voters at a downtown Springfield polling place around lunchtime.

“What brought me? Change,” Bautista said.

Esther Rios of Springfield said the recent violence in Pittsburgh and elsewhere motivated her to vote. She had brought along an elderly friend who doesn't speak English.

“She needs to vote. I hope everyone comes out today,” Rios said.

And Rios said she was not daunted by the weather.

“No, not at all,” she said. “If there had been a tornado, I think I would have come, too.”

At one polling place in Holyoke, the voter traffic was brisk -- though the city clerk's office said it was too early to analyze the turnout.

Several people said they were voting as a matter of civic duty, but did not consider the local issues and candidates as momentous as the national picture.

Ryan Little is a tech consultant.

“I’m very interested to see more what the rest of the country looks like than Massachusetts, because it does feel like we are a foregone conclusion at times,” Little said.

Sandra Ward, voting in Holyoke, said there seemed to be fewer political lawn signs than in previous years.

“That makes it less of an event this time, even though nationally, it's more of a deal,” Ward said.

Eileen Sullivan of Holyoke is a Republican voting in a blue state. She thinks the election means more than just the local races.

“I see it as a referendum on the country at this point -- not necessarily on Trump, but everybody's ideals and everybody's hopes and dreams,” Sullivan said.

Tom Barrett said he sees the election more about the tone of politics today.

“It's a turning point for the country on which way we're going to go,” Barrett said. “Whether it's going to be a civil discussion or there's going fear mongering. I chose the civil discussion.”

Barrett would not say which party represents that civil discussion.

In Belchertown, voter Jenny Franz says she's stressed about the election, but hopeful.

“I’ve never felt like a midterm has been so important to me, in my voting years,” Franz said.

The polls close in Massachusetts and Connecticut at 8 p.m.

Karen Brown and Jill Kaufman contributed to this report.