The waterfront area of the North End, specifically Ward 3 Precinct 1, was one of the top eight precincts that “contributed the greatest turnout to the city’s overall vote total,” according to an analysis by Commonwealth Magazine of the 2012 Presidential election, “Where the votes are in Boston.” The article focused on areas of downtown that have become more influential due to their greater concentration of residents that are inclined to vote.
People are living in areas of Boston that no one classified as residential merely a generation ago. The Charlestown Navy Yard, North End Waterfront, the South Boston Waterfront, Downtown, and “SoWa” (south of Washington in the South End) are but a few examples of a shift toward the northern neighborhoods of Boston. For the most part, these were places where very few people lived 30 or 40 years ago but which are now becoming popular residential addresses.
The 3-1 precinct encompasses the waterfront side of the North End, east of Hanover St. between the U.S. Coast Guard Station and Christopher Columbus Park along Commercial St., North St., Fulton St. and Atlantic Ave. (Note: Harbor Towers & Rowes Wharf are in precinct 3-6).
The Commonwealth Magazine analysis reflects the changing demographics and housing density of the neighborhood, similarly highlighted in a recent philanthropic study. The latter identified the 02113 zip code in the interior North End to be 54% under 30 years of age, including many students. The “under 30” demographic tends to be more transient and votes less than middle age and senior citizens. In comparison, the 02109 zip code on the “waterfront” is markedly older and has higher income levels. Thus, the demographics of the North End Waterfront imply a higher propensity to show up at the polls.
This voting shift has also been seen at the individual polling locations. In the Fall 2012 election, the 145 Commercial Street polling station (Precinct 1) had about twice the turnout of the other North End precincts (2, 3 & 4) that voted at the Nazzaro Center and Knights of Columbus polls.