Islanders head to polls with the nation

Mid-term elections draw an early crowd.


Updated 1:30 pm

Polling places on Martha’s Vineyard are already showing a robust turnout just a couple of hours into Election Day.

Times employees who have voted this morning report seeing a lot of voters at polling places.

It’s been a steady stream of voters for Oak Bluffs. Snacks and coffee have been greeting voters at the entrance to the Oak Bluffs public library. As of 1:15 pm 863 voters had cast their ballots and that number is on the rise. Polls opened at 7 am.

“It’s busy,” town clerk Laura Johnston told The Times, “constant, steady, it’s been great.”

There was a problem briefly in Tisbury this morning with voters putting their ballots into the electronic machine. Town clerk Hillary Conklin told The Times that the voters were bending or creasing the ballots, which made it more difficult to feed them into the machine.

By 11 am, things were running smoothly inside the Tisbury polling place.

“I feel great,” Anthony Piland, a candidate for clerk of courts, said as he waved to voters at Five Corners Tuesday morning. “The voters have been very supportive.”

There are 11 contested races and three ballot questions on the ballot, including races of local interest.

T. George Davis, a Democrat from Oak Bluffs, is squaring off against unenrolled candidate Piland of Tisbury to take over for Joseph Sollitto Jr., who is retiring as clerk of courts after 42 years in that job at Dukes County courthouse.

U.S. Rep. Bill Keating, D-Bourne, faces a challenge from Republican Peter Tedeschi of Marshfield.

John Flores, a Republican from Barnstable, is trying to unseat state Sen. Julian Cyr, D-Truro. State Rep. Dylan Fernandes, a Falmouth Democrat who represents the Island in the House, is unopposed.

Eight people are running for seven seats on the Dukes County Commission. Incumbents John Allen, Leon Brathwaite II, Tristan Israel, Christine Todd, Gretchen Underwood, and Robert Zeltzer face challenges from John Cahill of Tisbury and Keith Chatinover of Edgartown.

In the race for U.S. Senate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Cambridge, faces challenges from Whitman Republican Geoff Diehl and Belmont Independent Shiva Ayyadurai.

Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito are seeking re-election against Jay Gonzalez and Quentin Palfrey. Attorney General Maura Healey, the incumbent Democrat, is facing a challenge from James McMahon III. For Secretary of State, there are three candidates — Democratic incumbent William Galvin, Republican Anthony Amore, and Green Rainbow Juan Sanchez Jr.

State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg faces off against Republican Keiko Orrall and Green Rainbow Jamie Guerin.

There are three people running against auditor Suzanne Bump, a Democrat. They are: Republican Helen Brady, Libertarian Daniel Fishman, and Green Rainbow Edward Stamas.

Governor’s Council candidates are Democrat Joseph Ferreira, the incumbent, who is facing a challenge from Thomas Keyes, a Republican.

There are three questions on the ballot, and there are detailed summaries in a pamphlet put out by the Secretary of State’s office, which are available at town clerks’ offices.

Question 1 is called the Patient-to-Nurse limits. A yes vote would limit the number of patients assigned to a single registered nurse in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. A no vote would leave the current laws unchanged.

A yes vote on Question 2 would create a citizens’ commission to seek an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to limit the influence of money. It would establish that corporations do not have the same rights as individuals to donate to campaigns. A no vote would keep the status quo.

Question 3 is the transgender antidiscrimination law. A yes vote would keep in place current law, which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in places of public accommodation. A no vote would repeal the provision.