Election Day in pandemic brings new look, same feel to Mass. voters

Election Day in pandemic brings new look, same feel to Mass. voters

BOSTON — It looked like every other primary Election Day in Massachusetts until you looked a little closer at the new protocols in place for the virus.

Voters told Boston 25 News that they waited in line, socially distanced, wore a mask and felt safe. For the most part, voters say there were no surprises.

“I think there is a lot of social media news and everything out there that explained it enough. I think they knew they had the choices,” Denise Miller of Dorchester said.

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But there were some issues. A Dorchester poll location had a hard time verifying whether a person could vote in person after they had requested an absentee ballot. Boston election officials said they were experiencing heavy call volumes on the absentee ballot line for voters who requested a ballot and were showing up to vote in person.

Poll workers were calling the Elections Department to verify that a ballot hadn’t been received before allowing the voter to cast a ballot. The Elections Department spoke with the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office to streamline this process.

The governor told Boston 25 News during an unrelated news conference that the system may need tweaks before November.

“I certainly anticipate there will be guidance at the secretary of state’s office and frankly from a lot of local communities to the voters and their communities about what people are learning in this process for the next one,” Gov. Baker said.

The state is also anticipating later result times because the mail-in and drop-off ballots will have to be tallied when the polls close.

“They are going to take the ballots like we mailed in and they are going to stick them into the machines. And be counted just like if you showed up at your polling place,” Baker said.

Voters seem confident this will all work in November.

“I think it will work. If it goes like it did today,” said Jim Twohig of Dorchester.