TOWNSEND — A slate of mostly uncontested races was given as the reason for a light turnout for Annual Town Election held on April 26, but cool weather may have also played a part in the apparent disinterest of the voters.
“I think that overall turnout was too low,” said town clerk Sue Funaiole. “Still, it’s understandable. There weren’t enough contested races to pique the interest of the townspeople.”
With a barely 5 percent turnout, or about 356 of the town’s 6,310 registered voters, those who did manage to reach the polls at Town Hall for Monday’s balloting elected newcomer Nicholas Thalheimer to the Board of Selectmen with 290 votes, Susan Appel Robbins to the North Middlesex Regional School Committee with 271 votes, incumbent John Whittemore for Assessor with 288 votes, and Michelle Dold to the Board of Health with 276 votes.
All four ran unopposed.
But the election’s real spotlight was centered on races for one- and three-year terms on the Board of Library Trustees, the only races that were contested.
Of the trio of candidates vying for the three-year-term, Karin Canfield and Patricia Thomas-Jeanig beat out fellow incumbent Terry Duggan with 210, 182, and 173 votes respectively.
In the race for the single-year term, Cheryl Cloutier won the seat with 195 votes to Judith Maider’s 133.
As could be expected, it was the hotly contested races for Library Trustee that drew many of those who came out to vote yesterday.
“I came out mainly for the library race,” said Elaine Peloquin. “I go to the library a lot and wanted to make sure the right people get elected and do a good job.”
The position of Library Trustee took on a higher profile lately due to construction of a new, state-of-the-art library building that replaced the town’s older structure on Main Street.
“I like everybody that’s running for Library Trustee,” said Kim King, herself a current member of the board. “I work with three of the candidates and we make an excellent team and that’s very important what with the new, bigger building we have along with an expanded staff that relies on the board to provide direction.”
“Library Trustees have an important job to do and all the candidates who ran were very serious about the position,” said John King. “They were all excellent people and I hope that whoever wins, they’re happy with the job.”
All other candidates for office ran unopposed and were each elected to three-year-terms including Cemetery & Park Commissioner Raymond Boyes Sr. with 295 votes; Lynne LeBlanc, who was elected to the Recreation Commission with 279 votes; Peter Buxton, who was elected Trustee of Soldiers Memorials (nonveteran) with 285 votes; Walter Mann Jr., who was re-elected Trustee of Soldiers Memorials (Veteran) with 296 votes; and Niles Busler, who was elected to the Board of Water Commissioners with 301 votes;
In addition, the ballot included three positions that lacked candidates but which received write-in votes including current planner Jeff Peduzzi with 11 votes for a five-year term on the Planning Board; and Bob Tumber with 19 votes for a three-year term as Trust Fund Commissioner.
For a three-year term on the Amanda E. Dwight Entertainment Committee, Diane Morin won with 13 votes with John Whittemore receiving 10 and Albert Boucher 7.
As to the low turnout, some residents had their own theories.
“I was mostly disappointed in the lack of public awareness that there even was an election,” said Lance Lewand. “I don’t understand why the town doesn’t promote elections more. I see more signs for things like dog licenses than I do for upcoming elections.”
Be that as it may, residents who showed up at the polls last Monday were united in at least one thing, their staunch belief in their duty as citizens of Townsend.
“I knew there wouldn’t be many contested races but just had to come out and vote,” said Darlene Sodano. “Everyone should.”
“I come out to vote for every election,” said Don Clement. “That way, I’ll have the right to complain if things aren’t going the way they should.”