Saturday’s voter turnout was the largest in a local election this century, according to research by Ashley Large, archivist in the town clerk’s office.
And ironically, the pandemic had a lot to do with that.
The total turnout was 2,317, said Town Clerk Bridget Rodrigue. But 58 percent of those—a total of 1,347—were received by mail or in the dropbox outside Town Hall, or filed across the counter in the traditional absentee voting format.
Rodrigue also noted that the turnout is 22.8 percent of registered voters. More than 8,900 voters participated in the presidential election on Nov. 3, 2020.
That means fewer than 1,000 people—a total of 970—voted in person at John Glenn Middle School last Saturday.
The only other time since 2000 that more than 2,000 voters participated in the town election was in 2002, when 2,104 votes were cast.
Although there were three contests for elected positions on that ballot, the big driver for turnout was a proposed debt exclusion for a new Department of Public Works building. There was an intense campaign to bring out the vote, and the measure passed by more than 200.
In 2005, voter turnout totaled 1,958, thanks to a lively four-way contest for two seats on the School Committee. In contrast, only 301 persons cast ballots in 2008.
School Committee member Dan Brosgol, running unopposed for a third term, received the most votes in this year’s election, 1,904. Right behind him was Brian O’Donnell with 1,895. O’Donnell, a long-time resident, and volunteer on town boards, was elected without opposition to the Shawsheen Valley Technical High School Committee.
Kim Lovy, in her first bid for public office, was the third-highest vote-getter with 1,792. She ran unopposed for a seat on the Bedford Housing Authority.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 781-983-1763