Dot's Electoral 'Collegian' tells of 'surreal' experience

Linda Monteiro, a longtime Dorchester resident, cast her vote as a member of the Electoral College in the Massachusetts State House on Monday. Image courtesy Universal Hub

On Monday, all eleven Massachusetts members of the Electoral College cast their votes for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris during an hour-long ceremony in the House chamber that lacked the pomp and circumstance of previous years.

One of the 11 electors was Linda Monteiro, a longtime Dorchester resident, City of Boston employee, and first-generation Cape Verdean-American.

Monteiro was born in Boston and grew up in Connecticut before returning to attend Northeastern University and settling in the Bowdoin-Geneva area of Dorchester, where she has lived with her family for the last 27 years.

A first-time elector, she said she campaigned for the position back in August with the hopes of making a difference.

“I wanted to be part of this historic moment, because I wanted to be the one to actually cast the vote to move this country along and for us to transition,” she said. 

Monteiro now is hoping to bring more awareness to the Electoral College and how electors participate in that process.

“It’s such an obscure type of thing,” she told the Reporter. “People don’t know too much about it, including myself. It seems almost like a secret society. People don’t know about it, or how to apply for it. I didn’t know much about it until I became part of it.”

Monteiro admitted she’s “not a fan” of the Electoral College and wouldn’t mind if it was abolished, but added that “if it does continue, I would love to see more people who look like me.”

She has extensive experience volunteering for political campaigns and advocating for voting rights and voter activism. Playing such a key role in the democratic process, she explained, is special for her as a daughter of parents who valued their civic duty.

“My parents, when they became citizens, were very appreciative of becoming citizens. That’s where I got my sense that I needed to do more for my community. They voted every cycle, they felt voting was the way they paid back for being in this country, so they made it their civic duty to do that. That’s why I became a super voter, and I hope my children will follow my lead.”

The atmosphere in the House chamber Monday was “surreal,” said Monteiro, with only the electors allowed in the room and speeches being delivered through masks. She noted in her speech the significance of representing communities in Dorchester and Boston at large, with the majority of other electors hailing from elsewhere in the commonwealth. 

“I noted in my speech that I’m a lifelong Democrat from Dorchester. I grew up loving this place, and I’m proud to be from where I am,” she said.

In the end, Monteiro said casting the vote represented a moment of catharsis after she grew exhausted from the policies and rhetoric of the Trump administration.

“I wanted to see the end come, and I wanted to be one of the people who did it,” she said.

Biden handily won Massachusetts with 65 percent of the vote, or 2,382,202 ballots, while President Trump managed to secure 32 percent of the vote, or 1,167,202 ballots, out of the total of 3.6 million cast. And Biden triumphed over Trump, 306-232, in the national Electoral College vote tally on Monday.

Reports from State House News Service staff contributed to this article.