Photo: Tom Martin voting for the first time.
7:45 p.m.: Precinct 8, the Winn Brook precinct: 1.200 ballots cast. 60 percent participation with many younger voters – 7 at booths when I was there – coming in.
7:30 p.m.: The heavy rains held off and people have been coming in steady to the eight polling stations in Belmont. Not many signs around town although Dawn MacKerron and Bill Trabilcy were in Cushing Square with a big “No” sign, receiving a long horn blast from a late-90s Cadillac with State tags.
2:20 p.m.: The election is just past mid-way and the numbers at the eight precincts indicate a good deal of interest in the contested Selectman’s race and the Prop 2 1/2 ballot question.
Precinct wardens said the voters “have been really out there,” (Precinct 6), polling stations are “busy constantly,” (Precinct 3), activity is “brisk,” (Precinct 7) with voters coming in at a “steady pace.” (precincts 1 and 8).
So here are the raw numbers between 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.:
- Precinct 1: 665
- Precinct 2: 604
- Precinct 3: 473
- Precinct 4: 358
- Precinct 5: 479
- Precinct 6: 617
- Precinct 7: 438
- Precinct 8: 638
According to Town Clerk Ellen Cushman, the election could reach 40 percent participation rate or about 7,500 to 8,000 voters coming out.
1:50 p.m.: It was rough going for Tom Martin as he tried to vote at Precinct 2 in Town Hall. The Belmont High senior first attempted to leave the polling station with both the ballot and the folder in his hands when Precinct Warden Henry Kazarian steered Martin to the official voting scanner. There he attempted to insert the manilsa folder into the slot. At that point, Kazarian instructed Martin on the proper process of voting.
Despite flubbing the process a bit, everyone in the polling station gave a Martin a round of applause as it was the first time the 18-year-old ever voted.
“It was good, it was interesting,” said Martin, who received a handshake from Kazarian on his way out.
In the second-floor lobby, Martin said he wanted to cast his ballot because of the override.
“At Belmont High School, there has been a lot of talk about this [override] vote among the students,” said Martin, a co-captain of this year’s boys’ basketball team and player on Rugby. “We know the election is important for the future of the high school.”
“And now I’m 18, I should have my voice heard,” he said.
Noon: It was suppose to be raining by now but … nada.
10 a.m.: So where are the sign holders? At the Beech Street Center, of course, where precincts 3 and 5 are located. And we found Selectman candidate Jim Williams with his campaign manager shaking hands and talking to Precinct 5 Town Meeting incumbent Frank Lombardo and former town employee Austin ‘Butchie’ Bennett holding the fort for Andy Rojas.
“I have my coat so I’ll be here even if it rains,” said Butchie.
8:45 a.m.: A lonely figure at Precinct 2: Jim Gammell, a member of the leadership team for the Nos, poll watching. Will have to take a look around town to see if anyone else is out and about looking over lists of voters. Standing outside the Center’s parking lot,
8:15 a.m.: Here are the first data dump of the day; the total number of absentee ballots received as of yesterday (there’s one more rush of ballots around 5 p.m.) and by precinct:
- Precinct 1: 123
- Precinct 2: 91
- Precinct 3: 61
- Precinct 4: 42
- Precinct 5: 64
- Precinct 6: 104
- Precinct 7: 40
- Precinct 8: 79
7:30 a.m.: Belmont’s Town Election 2015 gets underway under a gray overcast and cool conditions with some good voter participation at Precincts 1 (at the Belmont Public Library) and 8 (Winn Brook School) with a dozen voters waiting to enter Precinct 1 and more than 20 residents voting in the first 10 minutes at 8. At Town Hall, the level is described as “brisk.”
One thing missing? Sign holders at the three precincts visited. Just one at 1 and 8, both with “Yes for Belmont” signs.