By Jon Bishop
AYER — Ayer had a very busy election day.
For example, at 12:27 p.m., 868 votes had been cast. And, at 4:14 p.m., 1,527 votes cast, 29 percent of total registered voters.
Ayer has 5,102 people registered.
“It’s been a very busy turnout — especially for a lot of the workers,” said Town Clerk Susan Copeland, just before the polls closed at 8 p.m. “It might be the highest turnouts we’ve had in awhile.”
Residents had a variety of opinions about the election.
Greg Robinson, who noted the busyness, said that he believed many people came out to vote because of dislike for the president.
Stasie Coleman would likely beg to differ.
“I voted all Democrat, because I believe in it,” she said. She also voted no on the first three ballot questions and yes on the fourth.
On tenor of the race, she said, “I don’t know why everyone is so anti-Obama.”
“I think he’s the most charming person in the world,” she said.
She said she could accept a Charlie Baker victory, but, on the whole, she wanted Martha Coakley.
Charles McKinney, a former selectman in town, said that “people are getting tired of having to choose Democrat or Republican.”
“For the sake of the country, we should think about how we’ll heal the country,” not whether a Democrat or a Republican would be best, he said.
Regarding ballot questions, he said, “The only thing I have a question about is the gambling coming into the state.”
He wasn’t sure it would be helpful. Consider Atlantic City, which saw a few casino closings, he said.
Bill Harris said the same of the gambling industry.
“Casinos are a black hole,” he said. “They suck up all the local merchants and it’ll look like Atlantic City.”
State Rep. Sheila Harrington, a Republican from Groton who was running for re-election, held one of her signs near Ayer Town Hall while she waved to people who drove by.
“A lot of enthusiasm, I think,” she said, noting the big crowds at the polls.
“It seems like a lot are swaying towards Charlie Baker,” she said. “I’m hoping they’re swaying towards me.”
Now, the results: Incumbent Senator Ed Markey took Ayer with 1,325 votes. Brian Herr, his challenger, had 1,073.
For governor, Republicans Charlie Baker and Karyn Polito took 1,333 votes in Ayer, while Dems Martha Coakley and Steve Kerrigan had 970. Evan Falchuck and Angus Jennings had 106; Scott Lively and Shelly Saunders had 32; Jeff McCormick and Tracy Post had 23.
Maura Healy won her race for attorney general in Ayer with 1,305 votes. Her opponent, John B. Miller, had 1,065. There were three write-ins and 117 blanks.
William Galvin won Secretary of State with 1,468 votes. His opponents, David D’Arcangelo and Daniel Factor, had 790 and 132 votes, respectively.
Deborah Goldberg won the Treasurer’s race with 1,130 votes. Michael Heffernan, one of her opponents, came in second with 1,096 votes. Ian Jackson came in third with 116.
Suzanne Bump had 1,186 votes in the race for Auditor. Patricia Saint Aubin came in second with 1,026. MK Merelice was third with 106 votes.
U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas handily won re-election with 1,438 votes. Ann Wofford, her opponent, had 953.
Marilyn Petitto Devaney won the spot on the Governor’s Council with 1,232 votes. Thomas Sheff came in second with 951.
State Sen. Jamie Eldridge and state Rep. Jennifer Benson were unopposed. Eldridge had 1,746 votes cast in his favor. Benson received 820 votes.
State Rep. Sheila Harrington won re-election, defeating Democrat Gene Rauhala, 742 to 427.
Question 1, which asks voters if they would retain the automatic adjustment of the gas tax, had 1,125 voting in favor of elimination, while 1,311 voted to retain.
Question 2 asked if voters would expand the bottle deposit law to include nonalcoholic and noncarbonated beverages: 472 voted in favor of expansion, while 1,990 said the law should stay as it is.
Question 3 asked voters if they would reverse state gambling laws: 1,643 said the law should stay as it is, while 805 said that casino gambling and betting on greyhound races should be prohibited.
Question 4, which dealt with earned sick time, saw 1,035 voting to keep the laws as they are, and 1,406 voting in favor of the change.
Statewide, voters said no to repealing the former casino vote, yes to requiring sick leave time, no to automatic gas tax adjustments and no to expanding the bottle bill.