After outcry from members of the Boston City Council and several candidates for mayor, elections officials added five locations to a list of early voting sites for the Sept. 14 preliminary election and the Nov. 2 final election.
The original list of sites submitted by elections officials had some “glaring omissions,” according to City Councillor At-Large Michelle Wu. A mayoral candidate who hails from Roslindale, Wu noted the neighborhood was missing from the list, suggesting there was a political reason behind the move.
Chinatown, the Seaport, and parts of Dorchester were also missing, she noted, compared to the 2020 list of early voting sites that had locations in those neighborhoods.
John Barros, who is also running for mayor, weighed in as well. “Funny you point this out, 02125 seems to be missing as well,” Barros said in response to Wu on Twitter, the social networking site. “I'm skeptical this is a coincidence.”
Added District 4 Councillor Andrea Campbell: “The City has a responsibility to put equity before politics.”
Acting Mayor Kim Janey, who is running for a full four-year term, took to Twitter to say she asked the board of elections commissioners to “take another look” at the list of sites.
The incomplete list also drew a rebuke from the ACLU of Massachusetts, with its executive director, Carol Rose, saying in a statement, “Early voting is meant to facilitate this by expanding access to the ballot. By excluding certain Boston neighborhoods, this proposal misses the mark for upcoming city elections.”
At a City Council meeting hours later, elections officials sent in an update that added Roslindale, the Seaport, Uphams Corner, Mission Hill and Chinatown. The Uphams Corner site was not immediately available.
Other early voting locations in Dorchester include the Richard J. Murphy School at 1 Worrell St., and BCYF Perkins at 155 Talbot Ave. the Thelma D. Burns Building at 575 Warren St. in Grove Hall, and the Mildred Avenue Community Center in Mattapan are also to serve as early voting sites.
The 2021 list still excludes Florian Hall, a key longtime polling station in Dorchester, which served as an early voting site in 2020.
The 2021 election cycle will also include mail-in voting, thanks to a bill signed by Gov. Charlie Baker in July that allowed for the return of both mail-in and early voting.