A total of 5021 Voters out of 20695 participated in the election: 24%
On the override questions, they both went down (though not as bad as 3 years ago):
Q1: Safety: Y: 2409 (48%), N: 2549 (51%) Blanks: 63
Q2: Education: Y:2146 (43%), N:2802 (56%) Blanks: 73
I had predicted a possibility of question 1 passing, but question 2 having a much harder time.
Compared to 2013, where there was nearly 80% against the override, a much greater percentage of the town has agreed there is a need for additional resources and was willing to provide it. We, however, are a frugal town who are proud of doing more with less and require it of our government. I just don’t see it continuing forever. Where the cost of services keeps increasing and the revenue does not, we either have to decide to provide less, or find additional revenue elsewhere.
The safety question was very close, but the school question was damaged by the decision of the school committee to give significant administrative raises during this campaign.
The number of voters participating in these questions, yet not in the other races, shows that the voters were very opinionated in this election. They were going to choose on these wallet questions, and many decided to just support one candidate in the others, not giving a second vote or only voted for the questions.
For Library Trustee: Monique Verville
3886, Blanks: 1076
No opinion here, but shows that about 1075 voters were not participating in this and the next position (people who only came in to vote on the ballot questions?).
For Town Moderator: George Malliaros
3770 (75%), Blanks: 1090
This was expected. There are always people who skip this vote if they don’t know the candidate.
Jesse Forcier: 2753
Tony Archinski: 2575
Phil Thibault: 2083
Cathy Richardson: 1324
I had predicted Tony first, Jesse second. Jesse’s campaign efforts obviously turned that over, but the rest fell as I expected.
Jesse had great visibility, and was seen as being attacked unfairly and thus earned the vote by not responding negatively. Being from the planning board and Housing showed his knowledge of the issues regarding town government and the housing needs of the town.
Tony has great respect throughout the town, and is very well organized. As an incumbent he is seen as a leader over the last year who kept the entire town working together trying to solve the economic situation.
Phil came in behind them by about 500 votes. He is a good worker, and on every committee shows great skills, but the townspeople just didn’t choose him as a leader. I still think there is an association here that has hurt him (though he did try to separate himself for the last month or so). The confusion of telling people he would vote for the override questions, but having people on the street holding his signs and vote No signs caused voters some issues as well.
Cathy has had her time. The pipeline company deciding to suspend their efforts undercut some of her efforts get support from that issue, and her personal issues regarding the court cases just did her in. People were just ready to move on.
Allison Volpe: 2900
Betsy Murphy: 2834
Tim Woods: 2208
This fell exactly as I predicted.
Allison spent a year or more working to earn this seat. She attended every financial meeting regarding schools voluntarily to understand the budgets and decisions being made.
Betsy has worked hard on the committee for the last few years, making some difficult decisions. She is still respected with making decisions in the best interest of the schools (though many still believe has to work a little more on predicting the political ramifications of those decisions.. her heart is in the right place, but sometimes not her timing).
Tim was seen as running out of spite or revenge as was written in the Lowell Sun recently. He was seen as having lost his position as Athletic Director and was thus attacked everything the School Committee had done and was out for the Superintendent.
His numbers I think are an indicator of the “angry voter” in this campaign, who is typically angry and mistrusting of government.
The dispute between he and Betsy allowed Allison to float to the top (as she stayed out of the fray), and Betsy was seen as “winning” the argument.
The 2000 blanks also showed that the school race had a significant number of people choosing to “bullet” vote their candidate.. voting just once, or even just voting only for the override questions.