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Cape Voters Head to Polls on Super Tuesday

Eve Zuckoff
Daniel, of Mashpee, just after helping his mom cast her vote for the presidential primary at Quashnet Elementary School.

Voter turnout appeared to be strong across Massachusetts on primary day, thanks in part to spring-like weather. 


“It's a right as a citizen of this country, and I think it's important that everybody gets their voices heard,”  said Priscilla Bartlett of Mashpee. “I don't care how [people] vote, just that they vote.”

The other factor driving voters to the polls, said Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, is high motivation. 


"The unifying factor on the Democratic side is a concern about making sure that President Trump is not re-elected," Galvin, a Democrat, told reporters at a news conference on Monday.

He said his office predicts about 1.5 million ballots will be cast for the Democratic nomination for president. The Democrats on the presidential primary ballot in Massachusetts include Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with a number of others who have dropped out of the race.

Also on the ballot for some Cape voters was a primary contest for a state senate seat. Candidates for the Barnstable-Plymouth seat include Democrats Becky Coletta, John Mahoney, Thomas Moakley, Susan Moran, and Stephen Michael Palmer. Jesse Brown and Jay McMahon III are running as Republicans.

Liz Westwater, a Democrat from Mashpee, said she voted on Tuesday from a place of worry for the country.


“I'm a social worker and so the health of women and children is really a big issue to me," Westwater said. "And things like the WIC program, pro-choice, healthcare for all, those are really important things for me.”


In Falmouth, Andrew Reed voted just after 8 a.m., and said he’s most concerned about housing prices at the local level, but his national focus is on climate change.

“The single most important issue for me is getting a handle on our greenhouse gases,” he said. “One of the key litmus tests for me was if a candidate supported a carbon tax and rebate.”

Reed said he intended to vote for Pete Buttigieg, but after the former South Bend, Ind., mayor dropped out, he said he supported another moderate Democrat: Biden.

On the Republican side, Galvin said, he predicted voters would cast about 350,000 ballots.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld is running against President Trump, and though Weld won 9 percent of the Republican vote in New Hampshire, he’s been seen as a longshot candidate.


While some Massachusetts Republicans voiced support for Weld, at Quashnet Elementary School in Mashpee, Janice VanDurne said she was steadfast in her choice.


“[I] stand for Trump and the Republican Party,” she explained, “I’m tired of having to fight” against sanctuary states. 


At Falmouth High School, Elaine Gaspa, a Republican, said she’s concerned about some of Trump's comments, but he still earned her vote.


“I wanted to make sure the candidates I voted for are against abortion, like me,” she said.  

Bill Jezak, an ex-serviceman and resident of East Falmouth, expressed similar hesitance, but said “border security, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of financial future” were his top concerns.

Some Republican voters, though, said they voted against the president.

Marion voter Joan Asker, who normally votes in the Republican primary, took a Democratic ballot to vote for a moderate she believes can beat Trump.


She says health care is important to her.

“I want to retain my own healthcare [and] have the privilege of choosing my own,” she said. “It’s the individualistic part of my nature and bringing-up.”

Ahmed Maalin of Mashpee was also thinking of his personal history. Maalin said he’s been an American citizen for almost eight years, so this is only his second presidential election.


“Today I came to vote because I'm an immigrant. I'm Somali-American,” he said. “So this would be my second presidential election and to me it's very inspiring to be in a country where you can vote for who you want and won't be judged.”


Polls remain open until 8 p.m. Voters who are in line when polls close must be allowed to vote. Polling locations can be foundonline. Massachusetts is one of 14 states holding primaries on Super Tuesday. 

Eve Zuckoff covers the environment and human impacts of climate change for CAI.