No matter whose name you marked on a ballot in the special Plymouth & Barnstable Senatorial District election last week, May 19, in Bourne, Falmouth and Sandwich to fill Senator Viriato (“Vinny”) M. deMacedo’s seat, you have, by exercising your right to vote, affirmed the necessity of our democratic process.
Whether you voted at a polling location or by absentee ballot, you overcame any difficulties you might have faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that is not only admirable but also a promising sign that town, state and national elections later this year can proceed without serious problems.
Special thanks go to all the organizers and volunteers throughout the Upper Cape who accepted the health risks needed to make the election happen as smoothly as it did. Safety precautions were in place, and the voting process seemed largely to move along seamlessly and—ultra-important at this time—with ample patience and courtesy.
The run-up to this special election was unusual in that most in-person campaign events and door-to-door outreach to voters had to be canceled or moved online due to challenges from the coronavirus. This was unfortunate for many reasons, and it might not have allowed potential voters to meet a candidate in person or interact with a campaign surrogate.
While some complications were inevitable and while the turnout might have been higher without the pandemic interfering, the special election itself was a great example of how communities can work together to solve a difficult problem and achieve a positive result.
This is the kind of individual and collective action we need in upcoming elections in the summer and fall. The stakes are high across the board, no matter which side of the political aisle you identify with, and we should encourage our town and state officials to take every step necessary to ensure that voter registration, in-person voting, and voting by mail are viable and reliable options for everyone. It is not too early to be planning for the national election in November, both as an individual and as a citizen of your town. Consider volunteering in a fashion that suits your comfort level.
There are excellent resources available for voters on the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s website at www.sec.state.ma.us. The Upper Cape town websites are also helpful sources of information.
The candidate lawn signs might come down for a short while, but they will return again soon for new campaigns and, if the recent election’s success is any indication, we will be ready to do our civic duty.