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Voters show in the snow

  • Boscawen public works employee Phil Parkhurst shovels the entryway to Boscawen town hall Tuesday during the snowstorm.

  • Webster couples Susan and Geoff Martin, right, and Tricia and Jim Carey, left, chat and joke about when putting greens might be snow-free again after Tuesday's snowstorm.

  • Cynthia and Ted Houston leave Boscawen Town Hall after voting Tuesday.


Monitor staff
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tuesday’s storm may have made history by convincing dozens of towns to postpone ballot voting for the first time, but it still didn’t stop plenty of hearty New England souls from going to polls.

In Henniker, so many voters showed up that officials ran out of ballots and had to make more copies on the fly, while Hopkinton’s turnout exceeded a record set last March.

“Most people don’t seem to mind. It’s an adventure. And this is New Hampshire,” said Fred Okrent, town moderator in Pittsfield, where turnout was “on the low side of average.”

“We were expecting less, actually,” he added.

Monday was probably the most confusing lead-in to town meeting day in state history,  as state and local officials disagreed about who had authority to cancel ballot voting – something that had never been done on a widespread basis in New Hampshire history. 

In a Monday afternoon conference call, Gov. Chris Sununu strongly encouraged communities to hold elections as usual, but he left the decision in the hands of individual town moderators, partly because some of them had already announced that voting was postponed.

Almost a quarter of towns in Greater Concord postponed Tuesday’s vote out of concern for voters’ safety in the face of dire predictions about the storm.

The confusion carried into Tuesday, as some communities within multi-town cooperative school districts did not release the results because other towns in the district had postponed their voting.

Ten towns in Greater Concord postponed voting, and four towns that had town meetings scheduled for Tuesday evening moved them to other dates.

Here’s a look at some of the decisions made during voting Tuesday.

Henniker

Turnout, probably prodded by a controversial move to switch the school district to SB2, was a relatively high 20 percent, 790 people out of 3,836 registered voters.

On the town side, Peter Flynn, 404 votes, and Tina Hooper, 374 votes, won the two three-year select boards seats, defeating David Osgood, 355 votes, and Stephanie Payeur, 201.

Kimberly Johnson easily won three-year town clerk seat, defeating Heidi Aucoin, 593-81.

There were no other contested races.

Boscawen

A sleepy ballot saw what might be the lowest tallies of any race in the region: Adam Egounis and Rhoda Hardy became cemetery trustees with 4 votes and 3 votes, respectively.

The two were write-ins, as there were no official candidates. Egounis won the three-year term, Hardy the two-year term.

Roger Sanborn, unopposed, was elected seletman with 99 votes.

The town passed all five zoning amendments – three covering accessory dwelling units, one covering cluster development and a petition article that changed lot zoning from agricultural/residential to residential.

Canterbury

With no contested races, George Glines was elected selectman with 144 votes, and Arthur Rose and Jim Snyder each won three-year seats on the planning board.

Bow

On the town side, Harry Judd defeated Robert Blanchette Jr. for a three-year select board seat, 600-439.

Robert Arnold and Mark Zerba were elected to the budget committee, defeating Matthew Poulin and Marc Van De Water.

All the zoning amendments passed.

On the school ballot, Bryce Larrabee and June Branscome were elected to three-year school board seats, defeating Ginger Fraser, Jeffrey Knight and Bill Kuch.

Branscome edged out Knight by just 16 votes.

Pembroke

With no contested races on the town ballot, probably its most interestiong vote involved a zoning change to ban “passive adult entertainment” in an area “within the Route 106 portion of the C1 district,” where it had previously been allowed by special exception. The change passed, 143-47. Live adult adult was never allowed in that area.

Both live in passive adult entertainment are still allowed in the C1 district “near Ricker Road.”

On the school ballot, Daniel Driscoll and Patricia Nardone Boucher were elected to the two open school board seats, easily defeating Ann Bond.

Turnout on this snowy day was 206 people, about 4 percent of the town’s registered voters.

Weare

Voters in Weare School District, which is SB2, rejected the operating budget, 339-469.

For school board, Lisa Johnson, with 376 votes, and Jeff Anderson, 341 votes, won the two open seats, defeating Wendy Curry, 291 votes.

On the town side, Jonathan Osbore and Jan Snyder won the two open selectboard seats, easily defeating three other candidates.

Four of 18 warrants articles were defeated involving funds for transfer station equipment, Chase Park, bridge reconstruction and government buildings.

Loudon

There won’t be a father-son team on the select board: Jason Fiske, whose father, former police chief Bobby Fiske, is already a selectman, was clobbered in a two-man race, losing to Jeff Miller by a tally of 547-46.

Fiske’s candidacy had raised some eyebrows in town because under state law, board members are not allowed to discuss town business out of public view and some had questioned whether a father and son could refrain from doing so.

On the planning board, Robert Cole and Stanley Prescott were elected, defeating Dennis Jakubowski for the two seats by roughly 100 votes.

Webster

With no contested races, Nanci Schofield will take the three-year selectboard seat and Bruce Johnson the one-year seat.

A zoning amendment for accessory dwelling units, an item that existed on many town ballots due to a change in state law, passed easily, 215-57.

Hopkinton

Jim O’Brien, with 600 votes, and Sabrina Dunlap, with 465 votes, won the two open seats on the selectboard. Dunlap edged out Lester Cresey by 22 votes.

For budget committee, Debbie Norris and Richard Houston won the two seats, easily defeating Arnold Coda.

All the zoning articles passed easily, including three that rezoned a number of parcels from residential to industrial.

Tilton

Results were not available by press time.

John Stark School District

There were no contested races in the two-town school district covering Weare and Henniker.

Henniker results were not available at presstime.

Weare voters rejected a collective bargaining agreement for teachers, 496-314, and also a proposal for a special meeting if the contract was rejected.

Weare voters approved the operating budget, 592-206.

Barnstead

In a five-way race for two seats on the budget committee, Scott Littlefield and Alan Glassman were easily elected, with 132 and 123 votes, respectively. None of the their opponents had more than 95 votes.

Debra Lamontagne defeated Kevin Genest in a race for a three-year seat as library trustee, 182-69.

The zoning amendment, regulating accessory dwelling units, passed, 153-94.

New London

In the race for budget committee, the only contested race on the ballot, winners were Joseph Cardillo, Suzanne Jesseman and Christopher Lorio. All four zoning amendments passed.

Deerfield

R. Andrew Robertson and Jeffrey Shute were elected to the two, three-year selectman seats, easily defeating John Cote and Laura Hughes.

The three seats on the municipal budget committee were won by Alden Dill, John Dubiansky and Philip Bilodeau, who easily defeated Benjamin Minerd and Ian Scott.

A warrant article to spend $300,000 for wheelchair access to town hall failed, 555-477.

On the school side, James Deely and Kenneth Heckman were elected to the school board, defeating Leila Thompson and Kevin Verville.

Voters rejected a warrant article to spend $102,000 to repair the gym floor, and also rejected two petitioned warrant articles – one to rescind the authority of the municipal budget committee, and one to delegate determination of the default budget to that same committee.

Newbury

There were no contested races. Both zoning articles passed easily.

Postponed

The following area towns postponed their voting from Tuesday to late dates due to the storm: Allenstown, Andover, Belmont, Chichester, Deering, Epsom, Hillsboro, Northwood, Salisbury, Wilmot.

Warner

Results were not available by press time.

Pittsfield

Results were not available by press time.

Dunbarton

Results were not available by press time.