Tuesday marks election day in Boston, meaning the end to Mayor Marty Walsh and challenger Roxbury City Councilor Tito Jackson’s campaigns.
As a Boston resident, you get to help either keep Walsh in office or enact Jackson to replace him. The race doesn’t seem very close though — a Suffolk University / Boston Globe poll from the end of October showed Walsh with a 35 percentage point lead over Jackson.
Walsh's lead in the polls may mean some voters will stay home. Secretary of State William F. Galvin’s office said that they expect turnout on election day may be as low as 90,000 residents, which is about 24 percent of all Boston eligible voters.
Still, there’s more than just the mayoral race on Tuesday. Voters can weigh in on city council races, both for local and at-large seats, as well. Here’s what you need to know before you head to the polls.
When and where can I vote?
Voting takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 7, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at polling locations across the city. Find your polling location by visiting wheredoivotema.com. Even if you know your polling place by heart, it may have moved — the city announced a few changes to polling locations online at boston.gov/departments/election.
To make sure that you are eligible to vote in this election, check your status online. The election also includes City Council candidates, so if you need to find out which district you live in, check the district map online.
Who is running and for what races?
For Mayor of Boston
Incumbent Marty Walsh is facing Roxbury City Councilor Tito Jackson. The race was narrowed to these to after the preliminary election on Sept. 26, when Walsh took 63 percent of the vote and Jackson 29 percent, out of 56,000 ballots.
For City Council
District 1, Charlestown, East Boston, North End:
District 2, Downtown, South Boston, South End:
District 7, Roxbury:
District 8, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Kenmore Square, Mission Hill, West End:
Incumbent Josh Zakim
District 9, Allston, Brighton:
Incumbent Mark Ciommo
Brandon David Bowser
Councilors for Districts 3, 4, 5 and 6 — Frank Baker, Andrea Joy Campbell, Timothy McCarthy and Matt O’Malley, respectively — are running unopposed.
City Councilors At-Large
There are four at-large seats up for grabs by:
Incumbent Michelle Wu
Incumbent Michael Flaherty
Incumbent Ayanna Pressley
Incumbent Annissa Essaibi George
William A. King
Where do the mayoral candidates stand on the issues?
Walsh: One of the first things we did when I was elected mayor of the city of Boston was to look at housing. We put together a housing plan in Oct. 2014 because we noticed there was all kinds of issues of housing. We put together an extensive plan to create 53,000 new units of housing in all different categories: low-income housing, moderate workforce housing, senior housing, and create more opportunities for on-campus housing. We have 22,000 units permitted in the city, almost 9,000 of which are low-income, moderate-income housing. We still have more work to do. We have to continue to not just build housing but build wealth and close that income inequality gap. This has to be a city for all people, it can’t be a city for few people.
Jackson: The city of Boston is building way more luxury housing than actual affordable housing. In a Jackson administration, day one we will set about taking apart the [Boston Planning and Development Agency] which is a promise that Mayor Walsh actually made, Instead he just rebranded it. In my administration, what we will do is take apart the [BPDA] — it is not a transparent organization, it is not a city agency, and the money that it collects does not go back to the city operating budget. In my administration we will dismantle it and make sure we have a city department of planning separate from development and it will be people-centric. In addition, on public land, we will make sure that there is public good done — one-third low-income, one-third moderate income and one-third of that would actually be for market rate.
Race and Diversity
Walsh: We had the first town-hall meeting in the history of the city of Boston where the mayor had a conversation about race in the city of Boston. We actually made a change to [the number of people of color getting city-owned contracts] to open up the doors for people of color and women and veterans to access more city-owned contracts a well as working with the state to change state policy there. We’re working on hiring in the city of Boston school department with our teachers, teachers of color; 50 percent of the teachers we’ve hired since I’ve been mayor of Boston have been people of color.
Jackson: A bridge between two Bostons... would be a city where we respect the lives of our diverse communities, where the life expectancy of neighborhoods that have been left behind goes up. The housing that we’re building exacerbates segregation in Boston. We would have a transportation infrastructure that deals with these disparities. The reason why I do this work is about opening doors of opportunity to everybody, not just some people.
The Amazon Bid
Walsh: If Amazon wants an East Coast headquarters, I don't see any city in America better than Boston, Massachusetts. There are a lot more discussions, but I think Boston has to be part of that dialogue.
Jackson: When it comes to Amazon, I do not believe that we should put forward financial incentives. We were able to bring [other businesses like Google] here based on the workforce we have, based on the locale we have relative to transportation. Amazon should want to come here, they should want to come to the city of Boston.
Education and Boston Public Schools
Walsh: “[The greatest challenge with education is] in high schools. We have to continue to create a pathway for our young people so that they graduate and they’re on a pathway to success or on a pathway to college.
Over the last four years we’ve made an increase of $154 million in the school budget. We’ve increased special education funding by 21 percent. We have the build BPS plan. Two-thirds of our buildings in the city of Boston are built before World War II, we’re making a billion dollar investment in making sure we build schools for the 21st century.
Jackson: As mayor, I will fully fund the Boston Public Schools. This past year alone, [Walsh] cut $11 million out of 49 schools. We need to fully fund vocational technical ed, we need to fully fund all of our schools. I will create a school committee that is democratically elected and not appointed by the mayor. We are the only city or town in the state of Massachusetts that does not have a democratically elected school committee. The people of the city of Boston should be able to have a say in the Boston Public Schools funding and envision for the future.