Revere’s Super Tuesday

Revere Fire Chief Gene Doherty and Election Commissioner Diane Colella stand in front of the North Revere Fire Station where there will be a polling place for the first time in this coming Tuesday’s election.

When voters go to the polls in Revere next week as part of Super Tuesday, it won’t be the same old routine for the voters of North Revere and the rest of Precinct 6-3.

For the first time in the history of the city, there will be a polling place located in the city’s northern outpost, located in the new Fire Station at the Overlook Ridge housing community. It is being moved from the former ITAM Club on Lucia Avenue (now Casa Lucia). And it’s a change that’s has brought about substantially because of the community that’s housed in what – only 15 years ago – was a rock quarry that looked like a scene out of an old Gold Rush-era Wild West movie. Hundreds and hundreds of newly registered voters have now replaced that old quarry. In fact, even though the district doesn’t vote heavily, the newly registered voters from Overlook Ridge take up at least 10 pages in this year’s Voter Listing Book.

Those are 10 pages that weren’t there only a few short years ago.

“The Secretary of State’s Office really tried to do the redistricting – drawing the new ward and precinct lines – with as much inconvenience as possible,” said Election Commissioner Diane Colella. “The result is pretty much a unified North Revere precinct.”

Colella said that this will be the first election where voters in North Revere will vote in their own section of the City, and that it is a result of the 2010 Federal Census.

After the numbers in the Federal Census came out, it revealed a much larger population in North Revere than had been there 10 years ago. Many expected that to be the case due to the fact that there were no residents in the Overlook Ridge when the 2000 Census was taken. For the most part, the project was only in the planning stages.

Now, of course, it has become it’s own community with several large apartment buildings, a store, a park, and even a dry cleaner.

Longtime Overlook Ridge spokesman Joe Shea said having a polling place at the Fire Station right outside the development will further knit the community in with the larger community.

“What’s nice about it is it does establish a connection with the people who live here and the City of Revere,” he said. “Having a polling place give the residents here a direct connection to the City. The idea of having a polling place here ties us to Revere and affirms that we’re not an island out here in North Revere.”

As a result of that growth, new lines had to be drawn by the Secretary of State’s Office to accommodate those voters, and that ended with North Revere pretty much becoming it’s own precinct – with a  few streets from the lower area of Ward 6 still included.

And thus ended the traditional trek down Washington Street to the ITAM for voters in the precinct.

“The Precinct 6-3 now has considerably less voters than Precincts 6-1 or 6-2  and that goes to the fact that they were really trying to segregate the area to make it more convenient for people,” said Colella. “Precinct 6-3 was actually mostly in North Revere, but the voting location was located in 6-1. Now, it really makes sense that 6-3 is located in a place to service North Revere voters. Maybe it will help increase voter turnout in the North Revere area.”

North Revere’s new precinct will have 1,229 registered voters, whereas Precinct 6-1 has 1,700 and Precinct 6-2 has 1,600.

Fire Chief Gene Doherty said he and his men at the new North Revere Station are ready to accommodate voters, and the one-bay station will host voting equipment inside the bay. The fire apparatus will stay outside on Election Day.

He said he readily approved the change late last year and had no problems with allowing the polling place to move from the old club to the fire station.

“We’ve briefed the firefighters that will be on duty that day so they know what’s going on, and we’re excited to have another polling place,” he said. “The Fire Department already houses three others, so we know the procedures.”

For the record, polling places are also in the Central Fire Station, the Freeman Street Station and the Pines Fire Station (which is not in use).

Colella said they’ve informed all of the voters in the new precinct about the change in location, and she said there would also be signs posted on Election Day.

She said it will be a learning experience the first time out, mostly because it’s so far away from the other locations.

“The first one up there might be a little adjustment for all of us, but we’ll pick it up quickly,” she said. “It’s going to be a new experience for all of us.”

And, she said, hopefully it will also be a new experience for those in North Revere – one that might bring them out to the polls this coming Tuesday and then again in November.

“There are a lot of people in Overlook Ridge that are registered, but they don’t necessarily vote in a lot of elections, especially local elections,” she said. “The presidential race always brings more people out, but how many more people from that area remains to be seen.”

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