Preliminary Election: September 24th, 2019
Today is Wednesday, September 4: it is the last day you can register to vote in Boston and be eligible to participate in the upcoming preliminary election, to be held on Tuesday, September 24, 2019.
2019 is an “off year” in local politics, with no Mayor’s race on the ballot. Marty Walsh, in his second term as Mayor of the Athens of America, spent his Labor Day weekend overseeing a notorious parade and free assembly. As it was also Allston X-mas, Boston’s population has once again swelled by tens of thousands, to the intense chagrin of Orange and Green Line passengers, who are now issued auditory warnings to remove packs from backs after boarding. Sign wars have yet to break out and it is almost time for the Newspaper of Record to remind Bostonians who their At-Large City Councilors are, and to give small shout-outs to each of the many other aspirants for the 8 slots available on the November ballot. There are many new faces in 2019, due to the perception that one of four sitting City Councilors is vulnerable, having only recently arrived in City Hall after the ascension of her predecessor to the ranks of the United States Congress.
In 2019, there are 15 candidates (including the 4 incumbents) running for City Council At-Large, and most of them are names unheard of outside of local Democratic politics. They have drawn lots for ballot order, and will appear on the ballot in the order below:
Erin Murphy: Candidate from Dorchester
Michelle Wu: City Councilor from Roslindale
Priscilla Flint-Banks: Candidate from Roslindale
Althea Garrison: City Councilor from Dorchester
Marty Keogh: Two-time Candidate from West Roxbury
Alejandra St Guillen: Candidate from West Roxbury
Michel Denis: Candidate from Hyde Park
Annissa Essaibi George: City Councilor from Dorchester
Jeff Ross: Two-time Candidate from the South End
Domingos Darosa: Two-time Candidate from Hyde Park
Mike Flaherty: City Councilor from South Boston
Herb Lozano: Candidate from Mattapan
William King: Two-time Candidate from Hyde Park
David Halbert: Candidate from Dorchester
Julia Mejia: Candidate from Dorchester
Some say that appearing first on the ballot (or nearly first) benefits a candidate’s vote totals by up to a thousand votes in a citywide election: the reason being that ballots are read from top to bottom, and since a voter has 4 votes, she might cast one or more of them before even reaching the bottom of the list.
It is also argued that a position at the VERY bottom of the list could prove advantageous, as a top-to-bottom scan will result in the last name being the freshest in the mind of a voter as she then deliberates. Some voters will have their 4 candidates chosen in advance; some will deliberately vote for fewer than four candidates; but many will have an “extra” vote: then, familiarity of name becomes critical.
How many of the 15 candidates for At-Large City Council can you name? Have you received a piece of campaign literature? Is there a yard sign on your street? Three weeks out, how many of your four votes are uncommitted?