Notes from Gazette reporters at polling stations around the Island on election day. Polls close at 8 p.m. in all six towns on the Island.


Coffee, cookies and good cheer greeted Edgartown voters behind town hall on a chilly Tuesday morning.

Mary and Jospeh Frawley voted in Edgartown for the first time this year. — Ray Ewing

After an initial early morning rush, voting in Edgartown has proceeded uneventfully throughout the day, according to constable Scott Ellis.

Next to the town hall, Rosewater Market manager Jared Savatore was dispensing free coffee and cookies in the back garden of the market, which has been closed throughout the pandemic.

Free coffee on Election Day was a Rosewater tradition, Mr.Salvatore said — a tradition he vowed to maintain despite the pandemic.

“Normally, when people came in with an “I Voted” sticker, we’d do free coffee,” he said. “We wanted to continue doing that this year (and) we had to be a little creative.”

Mr. Salvatore cast his own ballot early this year, and set up his coffee stand as the polls opened at 7 a.m. The house-made, individually wrapped cookies came in two types: brown butter and vegan peanut butter.

“It’s a serious day,” Mr. Salvatore said. “A little joy doesn’t hurt anybody.”

— Louisa Hufstader

Oak Bluffs

One month ago, longtime Oak Bluffs voter John Bunker requested a mail-in ballot. Although it arrived in time for the election, Mr. Bunker decided to vote in-person anyway on Tuesday.

He had to bring an oxygen tank to do it.

“I had my ballot, and I was ready to mail it in. But something just told me no, I’ve got to go to the polls to make it official,” Mr Bunker said. “Even though I’ve got to bring my oxygen with me, it was everything I wanted it to be.”

Mary Jane Aldrich-Moodie worked the polls in Oak Bluffs. — Jeanna Shepard

Getting to see old friends — many of whom work the polls — was part of the reason Mr. Bunker wanted to vote in-person. He greeted poll worker Anne Cummings at the door.

“It’s like going to the fair. You see people who you haven’t seen in ages,” Mr. Bunker said.

Overall, around 400 voters had streamed through the Oak Bluffs library by lunchtime on Tuesday — adding to the already 2,400 or so who had voted early or by mail. Town clerk Colleen Morris said things had quieted after a pre-lunch “blast.”

Mr. Bunker was part of the rush, excited to vote in an election he considered uniquely historic.

“I was too young for Eisenhower. And I was a senior in high school when Kennedy got shot. So I started around Nixon or so,” Mr. Bunker said. “I can say this is the most important election there has ever been. Our future is at stake.”

— Noah Asimow

Vineyard Haven

At 6:55 a.m. in Vineyard Haven a line of 15 voters stretched out and down the sidewalk from the public safety building, the wind nipping at masked faces.

John Bacheller was one of the first people to vote, saying he was driven to come out in person.

“It needs to be done and I’ve done it ever since I was 21,” Mr. Bacheller said. “It’s important to vote, if you don’t do it you don’t have a say in anything.”

Voting was steady all day in Tisbury. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Town clerk Hillary Conklin said the election had been busier than any in recent memory, with more than 2,000 residents voting early. She spent the better part of the morning running early ballots through the voting machine between voters — a task she expected to take most of the day.

By lunchtime, the sun began to peek out of the clouds and voting lines had subsided.

Voter Ted Box said he’s cast a ballot in person in every election since 1980. He was contemplating voting by mail this time around.

“But I just got lazy,” Mr. Box said with a laugh. Then he added, “I was not going to miss this election.”

— Aaron Wilson

West Tisbury

Steve and Dawn Feinsmith huddled together in the morning cold, joining a line of about 10 voters waiting for the doors to the polling station to open. Steve said he was feeling somewhat apprehensive and couldn’t sleep last night.

“I was watching the news until about 2 a.m.,” he said.

Julius Lowe and the next voting generation in West Tisbury. — Tim Johnson

Dawn woke up at 5:30 a.m. to get ready to vote.

“This is the most important thing I will do today,” she said. “I’m hopeful for change.”

Inside the polling station, volunteers helped voters move through the process. Town clerk Tara Whiting was at the center of the action. Ms. Whiting was elected town clerk in 2009 and this is her third time supervising a presidential election. She arrived at the polling station at 5:30 a.m. and said she expects to be there until about 10 p.m. with her vast crew of volunteers.

“I knew it would be busy this morning,” she said. “We’ve already had 1,599 people vote early but that means there’s more than 1,000 potential voters that could come in today.”

Ms. Whiting had a stock of snacks and coffee to help power her crew through the day.

“That and adrenaline,” she said.

By noon, the morning rush had quieted, a few dogs waited in pickup trucks for their humans to vote. Ms. Whiting-Wells said 360 voters had already come through.

Ms. Whiting said she expected the pace to pick up again later in the day. “There’s always an after-school crowd and a dinner crowd.”

Poll volunteer Jill De La Hunt took the 7 a.m. to noon shift and was headed out for the day. This was her first year volunteering.

“I figured that some folks would be more vulnerable and so they would need more volunteers,” she said.

“It’s great,” she added. “It feels like being a part of the community.”

Many of the voters said this year’s presidential election felt different than others.

“I’ve always had a strong feeling for my choice,” Lynn Christoffers said. “But this one has more at stake, I think. The health of the country, in every category.”

— Bill Eville


Up-Island in Chilmark, two voters climbed the ramp of the Chilmark Community Center minutes before 7 a.m., forming a line in front of the door. When the clock struck seven, the doors to the Community Center swung open and the voters were ushered inside, marking the very first ballots of a much anticipated Election Day.

Throughout the morning, a steady stream of cars turned into the Community Center parking lot. By 8 a.m. — one hour into voting — about 19 voters had already moved through the building, with waves of husbands and wives, mothers and daughters and next-door neighbors picking up steadily as the day inches by.

Chilmark Community Center was buzzing. — Albert O. Fischer 3rd

By afternoon, the halls of the community center were quieter, with a few lunch-time voters trickling in through the doors before returning to work.

The first half of the day and especially the late morning were busiest, town clerk Jennifer Christy said, but the room hadn’t reached its five-voter capacity since around 1 p.m..

With strong turnout so far, Ms. Christy expected a few more voters in what she calls the pre-dinner rush as well as a few just before the polls close, but she said the success of early voting will likely mean fewer voters casting ballots right under the wire this evening.

“Early voting went really well so it helped minimize crowds today,” Ms. Christy said. “Everything has gone smoothly so far.”

As for the voters, Candy Shweder said she emerged from the polling station feeling a mix of nerves and hope. “This [election] harkens back to the 1960s. I feel there are a variety of kinds of voter suppression and it’s important to get out and to vote,” she said.

Asked what she was hoping for today, she said simply: “I’d like to maintain our democracy.”

— Maia Coleman


In the early afternoon at the Gay Head town hall, election registrar June Manning, town clerk Gabriella Camilleri and election constable Roxanne Ackerman stood before the town’s wooden ballot box — the oldest on the Island, dating to the 19th century — cranking the handle as they inserted early-voted ballots into the slot.

By afternoon, the morning’s cloud cover had given way to sunshine and light streamed in through the windows of the hall, lighting up the box and they worked.

James Mahoney cast his ballot in Aquinnah, which has the oldest voting box on the Island. — Albert O. Fischer 3rd

According to Ms. Manning, the town had seen a steady turnout so far this morning and afternoon, with about 40 voters — including a family of four — arriving at the hall to cast their ballots in-person. When taken with the early votes cast, Ms. Manning estimated that 70 per cent of the town’s registered electorate had already cast their votes.

As the sun moved lower in the sky, Ms. Manning expected to see another 30 or so voters, many of whom she said would come in at around 5 p.m. at the end of the work day.

When the last bubbles are filled and the last ballots are cast, the town’s loyal team of 12 poll workers, registrars and volunteers will gather for dinner before beginning the meticulous process of hand counting each ballot.

Ms. Manning said she has been involved in the counting process for years, but this election, she has recruited younger volunteers, like her daughter in law Teresa to help with the effort. “It’s the new generation of counters,” said Ms. Manning with a smile.

— Maia Coleman