Voters head to the polls for 2020 presidential election

Nov 3, 2020

With Election Day in full swing, voters have been casting ballots at polling places around Wareham for hours. Although more than 8,000 Wareham voters cast their ballots before Election Day, there were still plenty of voters at the polls.

While some voters cited mistrust in mail-in ballots as their reason for voting in-person, many people who voted in-person on Nov. 3 talked about how important they felt it was to cast their ballots at the polls on Election Day.

“I’ve always, always voted on voting day,” said Lisa Veracka, 59. “That was the way that my dad raised me, so that’s the way I’ve always done it.”

Veracka, who voted for President Donald Trump, said it only took five minutes to vote and it was the fastest she’d ever voted. She voted at Town Hall and said she thought the coronavirus precautions in place were perfect.

Brandon Berriault, 36, voted at Redman Hall in West Wareham. He said the voting process was easy and the poll workers did a good job of keeping the polling place clean and organized while maintaining social distancing. It took him five minutes, he said.

“I trust the process in person, for sure,” said Berriault. “And it’s just the way I’ve always done it.”

Because in-person turnout was expected to be high even after people voted early or by mail, there were at least two Wareham police officers posted at each polling place. In past elections, there was only one officer per location.

Many Wareham voters had strong opinions about their candidate or the opposition.

“I voted for President Trump. I did the last time, I did this time,” said Holly Warshaw, 61, who has been voting since she was 18. “I’m hoping I’m part of the silent majority that’s out there. I really would prefer not to live in a socialist society.”

She said she believed former Vice President Joe Biden and running mate Senator Kamala Harris would move the country toward socialism.

“That’s not to say I love everything that the president does,” Warshaw said. “I’d like to, you know, cancel his Twitter account. … But his values and his ideas, I agree with.”

John Ferranti, 53, also voted for Trump.

“I think Trump’s doing a wonderful job,” Ferranti said. “And if Biden wins, we’re in for a long, dark winter. He wants to shut down everything; Trump wants to keep everything open. You can’t shut down the country, you’ve got to let it stay open.”

Biden’s supporters were no less opinionated.

Rosemary Kelleher, 72, said the presidential race was one that meant a lot to her. She joked she’d have to move to Canada if Trump won reelection and said she voted for Biden.

“I think he’ll bring the country back to some sanity,” Kelleher said of Biden. “We’re now being ruled by white supremacists and people who have no compassion for their neighbor.”

One 60-year-old man holding a Biden/Harris flag outside Town Hall said that this was his first time participating in an election in this way.

“I’m a veteran. I’m not a sucker or a loser,” the man said. “I believe [Trump is] compromised. I spent four years training against the Russians. I don’t want my president kissing their ass.” 

The man didn’t want to be named in the paper, citing the “volatile” political climate.

He did say that there seemed to be strong support for Biden in Wareham, with about a 70-30 ratio of “good honks to bad honks” from passing cars.

Peter Barrows, another veteran, was also holding a sign for Biden. 

“I don’t know how any veteran could be in support of Donald Trump after the things he’s said,” Barrows said. He took particular umbrage with what he described as Trump’s bragging about getting out of the draft for the Vietnam War, which he described as “personally insulting.”

Tony Volpe, another Biden supporter, said he is in favor of Biden because of his “sanity.”

“I want to protect my son’s future. I want a green planet, a chance to get an education,” Volpe said.

Marie Riley was holding a flag in support of Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, a write-in candidate for senate. Riley has been a Dr. Shiva supporter since his 2018 campaign against Elizabeth Warren.

“He said he was so happy that Trump had won because he was the perfect man for the job of the CEO of the United States,” Riley said. She cited Ayyadurai’s multiple MIT degrees, experience running international high-tech companies and commitment to “truth, freedom and health” as reasons she thought he was right for the position.

Around noon, Sonya Twyman, a poll worker at Redman Hall Precinct 4 in West Wareham, said that there had been a steady stream of voters at her polling place all day. Twyman said this was her first election working the polls.

“They said they really needed help,” Twyman said. “And I wanted to be sure that everyone could get their vote in.”

People were already waiting before the polls opened at 7 a.m., Twyman said, and she was told there was a line all the way around the Redman Hall building when the polls opened. 

“People were just really patient and really great,” she said.

Throughout the day, Twyman said she handed out ballots, sanitized voting booths and spent time inserting early-voting and mail-in ballots into the machine between voters. 

In terms of coronavirus precautions, Twyman said everyone was wearing masks and washing their hands frequently. She said hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes were widely available as well.

Twyman also said she’d seen a lot of first-time voters this election. 

One of those first-time voters was Marc Zaknoun, a 23-year-old who said he’d voted recently in a primary but that this was his first presidential election.

He said the social impact of the election was what brought him out to vote.

“I think everyone’s feeling it a little bit more with this round of elections,” Zaknoun said. “People want to see change, and I just figure, you know, exercise your civic right to vote.”

Zaknoun said he voted for the Democrats on the ballot, including Biden.

“I feel as though his views and the Democratic party’s views align with my own,” he said.

Zaknoun said he hoped things would start looking up for the country.

“Things have been a bit tough, so here’s hoping that the turnaround starts with this election,” he said. “I think that’s why everyone’s out to vote.”