Q&A on Tuesday’s Town Council election

Nick Grabbe

Q. Now that the town is divided into five districts instead of 10 precincts, where will I vote?

A. You will vote in the same place you have always voted. Click here for the locations. The precinct lines still exist with respect to polling places. Here’s a map of the district lines.

Q. How many candidates can I vote for?

A. You can vote for up to three of the six at-large candidates and two of the four candidates for district councilor. There will be 13 members of the Town Council, three elected at large and two for each of the five districts.

Q. Are the candidates the same on every ballot?

A. The at-large candidates are, but the district councilor candidates are different in each district. There are 26 candidates in all.

Q. I saw a lawn sign that seemed to indicate I could vote for only two at-large candidates. It asked for “1 of your 2 votes.” What’s up with that?

A. That’s a sign for candidate Rob Kusner. He says those signs were from his Select Board campaign 14 years ago, and it “seemed reasonable” to re-use them because there are two places on each ballot: at-large councilor and district councilor.

Q. What were the vote totals in the Sept. 5 preliminary election for at-large councilor?

A. Mandi Jo Hanneke came in first with 2,681 votes, and Alisa Brewer was second with 2,460. Jim Pistrang got 2,428 votes and Andy Steinberg 1,826. Bob Greeney got 1,410 votes and Rob Kusner 1,130.

Q. Were there preliminary elections for district councilor in every district on Sept. 5?

A. No. In District 1, candidates Sarah Swartz, Cathy Schoen, Sharon Povinelli and Nicola Usher will be on the ballot for the first time on Tuesday. That’s because there were only four candidates in District 1 at the time of the preliminary election.

Q. What were the vote totals for the other district councilor candidates who will be on the ballot Tuesday?

A. District 2: Lynn Griesemer, 855; Pat DeAngelis, 572; Victor Nunez-Ortiz, 442; and Peter Vickery, 434. District 3: Dorothy Pam, 215; George Ryan, 193; Steve Braun, 157, and John Page, 106. District 4: Evan Ross, 439; Jacqueline Maidana, 412; Steve Schreiber, 381; and David Reffsin, 271. District 5: Shalini Bahl-Milne, 773; Darcy DuMont, 751; Paul Bobrowski, 465; and Samuel MacLeod, 460.

Q. Is it safe to assume that this is the order in which candidates will finish on Tuesday?

A. Not at all. The preliminary election took place the day after Labor Day, so many voters were unaware of it. New voters will go to the polls because of the state and national election, while others were primarily interested in the preliminary election because of the state representative and state senate primaries. There have been many forums and house parties where voters have listened to the candidates and formed new impressions of them. Some candidates campaigned heavily before the preliminary election while others didn’t.

Q. Why were the vote totals in the preliminary election so much greater in District 5 than in the other districts?

A. There are more eligible voters in District 5 (Precincts 7 & 8), and the percentage of them who voted in the preliminary election was higher. The number of ballots cast in District 5 was 3.5 times the number cast in District 3.

Q. How do you define “turnout”?

A. It’s actual voters divided by eligible voters. Here were the turnouts on Sept. 6: Precinct 1, 20.22%; Precinct 2, 29.04%; Precinct 3, 15.64%; Precinct 4, 11.23%; Precinct 5, 26.81%; Precinct 6, 35.53%; Precinct 7, 33.32%; Precinct 8, 44.49%; Precinct 9, 24.88%; Precinct 10, 12.04%.

Q. Was turnout higher in the preliminary election than in the charter election last March?

A. No. It was 26.44% on Sept. 5, compared to 29.66% in the charter election. (Turnout averaged 15.6% in local elections in the 10 years before the charter election.) There were 20,578 eligible voters on Sept. 5, and 5,440 of them voted.

Q. Why are there more eligible voters in some districts than in others?

A. The district lines are drawn based on the number of residents, not the number of eligible voters. There are 4,820 eligible voters in District 5, but only 3,286 in District 1.

Q. How did the early voting go?

A. More than 2,300 residents voted early in the local election, or about 11 percent of all registered voters. On-campus early voting was popular; in the first week of early voting, there were more votes cast in 18 hours on campus than in 42 hours at Town Hall. It’s unclear how many students voted on campus in the local election.

Q. But all the candidates for state, national and local elections are on the same ballot, right?

A. No. There is one ballot for state and national candidates and another ballot for local candidates. There are even two check-ins at the polls.

Q. What if I want to vote but won’t be in town on Tuesday?

A. You must pick up an absentee ballot at the town clerk’s office in Town Hall before noon on Monday. If you already have an absentee ballot, it must be received by 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Q. When will the polls be open on Tuesday?

A. From 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.



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