Photo: Oliver Leeb receiving congratulations after his first vote.
The all-day rain that has softened voter counts at Belmont’s eight precincts during the annual Town Election did not deter new voters and candidates who were voting for the first time,
Precinct 2 (Belmont Town Hall)
The last time most people saw Oliver Leeb was when he was waltzing in high heels, in the role of Mary Sunshine in the Belmont High School Performing Arts Company’s production of “Chicago.” On Tuesday, the high school senior who will be attending Brandeis in the fall was with his mother preparing to vote for the first time.
“I have been excited about this for a while,” said Leeb. “It’s important to have some say in things that affect our lives.”
And while he did have a slight bubble when casting the ballot – he left it in the folder before being told to slide it into the box – Leeb was congratulated by Precinct 2 Captain Henry Kazarian who shook his hand, having become an official voter.
Precinct 1 (Belmont Public Library)
Not only did Belmont High School Senior Samantha Casey get to cast a vote for the first time, but she also knew one of the Town Meeting candidates she was voting for: her mom, Emma Thurston.
“I did vote for her,” said Casey, with Thurston saying “Good answer!” as they stood outside in the rain holding signs.
Casey said she voted for her mom because “she’s passionate about everything. She does a great job because she knows about town politics and is involved in all the schools.”
As for voting: “It was very exciting, and everyone was super nice when they found out it was my first vote. They call clapped for me,” said Casey, who still has to choice between Boston University and Northeastern to attend in the fall.
Precinct 8 (Winn Brook Elementary School)
First-time candidate Natalie Leino was out greeting voters entering the Winn Brook School with her campaign staff: daughter Carlie and son Ian.
“It’s been fun meeting friends,” said Leino as Carlie – a kindergartener at the Winn Brook – wandered off to Joey’s Park while Ian appeared ready to head home.
“I just wanted to get more involved in the town having been here for the past five years,” said Leino whø is the chair of the Vision 21 Implementation Committee which recently held the successful “Talk of the Town” forum.
“And running for Town Meeting is the natural next step to learn what’s going on in town and have a say.”
Precinct 2 (Town Hall)
You know who your friends are when they are willing to stand out in the rain for you after school. So first-time candidate Devan O’Toole has a friend in David Korn, a fellow senior at Belmont High School, who stood by O’Toole with a sign in hand during the late afternoon rush hour outside Town Hall.
“I’m here to support one of my best friends in his endeavors to become a Town Meeting member. I’ve been canvassing the neighborhood which has been fun,” said Korn who is heading to Berklee this fall.
“I want to see him make a change in Belmont. I think he can do that because he’s a great kid.”