Stoneham, Reading Head to Polls - Finances, Congeniality Top Issues
Apr 02, 2019 11:13PM
● By Dan Marra
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Town elections tend to have low voter turnout and that trend continue in the town elections in Stoneham and Reading held on Tuesday, April 2.
But the motivations for those who did show up at the polls on Tuesday varied between each town.
The town of Reading for the second time in as many years voted for new leadership on the board. According to the unofficial results, Anne Landry secured the highest number of votes (1,981) with Mark Dockser (1,470) taking the second spot on the Select Board. Both Landry and Dockser won seats on the board. Carl Bacci finished with 1,309, incumbent Barry Berman had 1,189 and Peter Kramer finished with 543 votes.
The 3,642 votes cast in the election was a far cry from where voter turnout was a year ago in Reading when 8,563 ballots were counted, equaling more than 40 percent of all registered voters in Reading when an override was on the ballot. This year fell more in line with a traditional town election with only 18 percent of the town casting their vote. In 2017, for example, only 17.5 percent of voters went to the ballot box.
But for those that did make it to Reading High School, the issues the voters cared about all had a similar theme – education and finances.
“My main issue in voting today was to make sure we take care of the town financially,” said Reading resident Peter Maguire. “My children are grown, but I still have grandchildren in the middle school and I want to make sure the funding is there for them like it was for my kids.”
And for others, the drive to the ballot box was in direct result of last year’s override.
“The idea of putting a moratorium on overrides for five years is something I really liked,” said George Riccardelli, citing a promise from Bacci. “We just have crazy taxes now and the town has been irresponsible in the way they spend money.”
But for Paul Reynolds, the goal of the election was simple: “I want someone who is conservative and fiscally prudent.”
To view the rest of the town-wide results, please clickhere.
The low turnout was similar in Stoneham where unofficially 2,181 voters cast their ballot out of more than 16,000 voters. That number is especially stark when compared to the more than 11,000 residents that voted in this past election in November.
The race was close between the top two Select Board candidates, both securing a spot on the board – in newcomer Heidi Bilbo (1,1,59) and incumbent George Seibold (1,139). Joseph Bromander (898) placed third and Robert Verner (540) finished fourth.
For residents that cast their ballot in Stoneham, it was a mixture of civic duty and finding a candidate that is not afraid to negotiate to get things done.
“It’s important to vote in local elections,” said Stoneham resident Sara Clarke. “Local elections is where change occurs, it’s where you’re best able to, as a citizen, determine how you want your community to run.”
But many wanted someone who can connect with residents in the town.
“I want someone who has a background of working with others,” said Stoneham resident Wendy Smith. “I want someone who can work with people who have different ideas that can move the town forward.”
“I don’t like the bickering in town,” said resident Tony Carbone. “Too many times they’re forgetting about the people. The candidates need to understand that they may not agree on everything, but they need to do what’s right for the people in this town.”
To view the results of the Stoneham town election, click here.
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