Turnout Low in 2011 Town Election
About three percent of registered voters cast a ballot in this year's town election. All races were uncontested.
This year’s Town Election in Westwood was full of uncontested races, and the turnout numbers showed. Only about 3 percent of registered voters made it to the polls on Tuesday.
Still, the number was higher than in 2004 - the last time candidates ran unopposed - when turnout was only at 2 percent.
Unlike the State elections last Novemner, which brought in 75 percent of registered voters, there were no signs for candidates out front. Traffic and lines to the polls were also noticeably low.
With about an hour to go in the election, 229 of the roughly 10,000 registered voters casted a ballot. Town Clerk Dottie Powers said that each precinct had shown low turnout numbers, but she was not surprised by the result, as they reflected similar numbers in 2004.
The number of votes cast at the four precincts, each of which comprises about 2,500 registered voters - in Westwood were as follows:
- Precinct One - The Westwood Senior Center - had 58 voters
- Precinct Two - Sheehan Elementary- had 62 voters
- Precinct Three - Hanlon Elementary - had 66 voters
- Precinct Four - Downey Elementary - had 43 voters
“It has really been a quiet, uneventful day,” said Powers.
One registered voter who did make it to the polls on Tuesday was Ken Aries, Director of Operations for the Westwood Public School system, who was voting at Precinct Two. Aries said that he votes in every election, and noted that this is what our country was founded on: Even though the races were uncontested, voting is still the right thing to do.
“This is our civic duty,” said Aries.
Leo Crowe, Warden for Precinct One, was also not surprised about the turnout, but thought that the warm weather might bring people out of their houses.
“I understand that there are no contested positions, but it would have been nice to see more people make it out,” said Crowe.
Denise Crowe, Warden for Precinct Four, also did not expect a very high turnout.
"Traditionally, uncontested races are poorly attended," she said.
All candidates in this year's race are incumbents running for re-election unopposed, something Westwood hasn't seen since 2004. Prior to that, an uncontested election took place in 1987.
Turnout in 2004 was also on the low side, with only 2 percent of voters taking to the polls; 184 ballots were cast.