The 2019 November city council election saw the most diverse council in Boston’s history elected.
Minority candidates will make up a majority of the Boston City Council for the first time in the council’s history. The majority of the council will be women and seven of the 13 councilors will be people of color.
Julia Mejia and Alejandra St. Guillen, who are vying for the final at-large council seat, are both looking to become the first Latina on the council. Separated by a slim margin with Mejia having only 10 more votes, St. Guillen has requested a citywide recount.
“This campaign engaged thousands of voters across this city to ultimately be separated by just 10 voters. Every voter who came out and cast a ballot – whether it be absentee, in the voting booth, or provisionally – deserves a full and complete count to determine who is our next City Councilor at large,” said St. Guillen in a statement.
Mejia tweeted that she supports the recount, saying it’s an opportunity to show what democracy looks like.
This tight race shows that every vote counts, and perhaps it will encourage more residents to vote next time around. This election, though historic in its results, saw a low voter turnout of just 16.5%.
City Hall, usually a popular and busy voting place, was nearly empty around noon with only one or two people voting at a time.
Boston resident Liam Ross was saddened by the apparent low voter turnout.
“It seems that people only care and come out to vote when there is a presidential election,” he said. “I don’t know how you change that.”
Ross said he believes in the importance of the council.
“I do think what they do and how they behave has a direct impact on my life as a resident in this city. That’s why I try to educate myself on the candidates,” he said.
Many of the elected councilors sent out statements and tweets to show their appreciation for those who voted. District 1 City Councilor Lydia Edwards, representing the North End, East Boston, and Charlestown for another term expressed her excitement to continue on the council.
“It is my great honor to be re-elected and to continue serving residents of Charlestown, East Boston and the North End. Bostonians clearly spoke yesterday, across the city, that our government must act on critical challenges like housing, transportation, climate change, addiction, and economic justice while ensuring all communities are part of the political processes that shape our lives.” – Councilor Lydia Edwards
The three returning at-large city councilors – Michelle Wu, Annissa Essaibi-George and Michael Flaherty – also shared their enthusiasm with Boston residents: