Three candidates running for two four-year Williamstown seats on the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee: incumbents Carrie Greene (1,312) and David Langston (1,456) keep their seats from challenger David Backus (837). The two-year seat was won unopposed by Abigail Reifsnyder (1,837). All three questions were defeated: Question 1: Yes 569, No 2,012; Question 2: Yes 514, No 2,043; Question 3: Yes 496, No 2,169.
We're also kind of astounded that the Question 1, which repeals the tax on alcohol sales tax, passed 52 percent to 48 percent by Bay State voters. Seriously? The petition was generated by package store owners near the New Hampshire border claiming their sales were significantly affected. The question had little impact here in the northwest corner but apparently those in the northeast don't think they should pay tax on their booze — unless they buy it in a restaurant.
Opponents say the state will lose $110 million in revenue over this question and programs to help substance abusers and prevent teen drinking. Let's see how it plays out.
Paul Mark's campaign sent us info on where the representative-elect will be today:
Mark, staff, and volunteers from his campaign will be out on the campaign trail performing four roving "Thank You" visibilities. A small group of supporters will be joining Mark starting at noon in Cheshire for sign-holding and greeting voters to say "thank you" for electing him state representative. The informal schedule will be roughly as follows: Cheshire at noon at Church and Route 8; Dalton at 1:30 at Routes 8 and 9; Shelburne Falls at 3 at State and the iron bridge; and Northfield at 4:30 at Routes 63 and 10.
Campaign staff encourage supporters to leave Paul Mark signs on their lawns until Friday evening, as volunteers and staff will collect them by Friday. If a sign has not been picked up by the weekend, supporters may call 413-306-9242 to have them removed.
Nov. 2, midnight: Not wrapped up quite yet. We got a text from Paul Mark's campaign manager Steven Hoesche confirming Mark had won the four biggest towns in the Franklin County section of the 2nd District. Mark's won all the Berkshire towns so far , so it's not much of a stretch to call him the winner.
We also got some numbers from Clarksburg: Gov. Patrick continued his hold on the county with Clarksburg voters handing him 340 to Baker's 146. Cahill picked up 45 and with Stein trailing with a handful of votes. Some 549 ballots wer
Clarksburg also rejected all three questions pretty forcefully. No. 1 went down 346-200; No. 2, 393-132; and No. 3, 385-160. One and two had a couple blanks but No. 2, on repealing the so-called 40B law for single-permitting affordable housing, had 24 blanks. A couple dozen couldn't make up their mind - or weren't sure.
The senior housing planned just a few hundred feet away from the polling station could fall under the 40B law.
Patrick won re-election with 48 percent of the vote statewide.
Lenox rocked out at 61 percent; 2,266 voters out of 3,718 made it to the polls to vote for Patrick (1,697-419); Coakley (1,701-506); and the rest of the Democratic ticket, including handing Bump 1,267 votes against Connaughton. More Lenoxians did check the box for Nat Fortune in the Green Party; he polled 138 votes, which is so far the highest we've seen. All the questions went down three or four to one.
Numbers in from Cheshire at about 11:25. We only asked for governor and 2nd District to see how the voting went in that town.
Patrick continued his sweep of his adopted county (he polled 586-123 in Richmond, with 63 percent turnout) with Cheshire handing him 711 votes. Baker, however, did better than in other county towns, earning 311. In the 2nd District, Mark extended his victory with 624 votes to Case's 430 and Racz's 47.
Town Clerk Christine Emerson said turnout was 1,132 out of 2,316 voters, or just a hair under 49 percent.
Adams had a turnout of 42 percent, with 2,352 of 5,663 voters casting ballots. The results were similar to other towns, with Patrick winning 3-1, or 1,629 to 548. Cahill did nab 132 votes and Stein 22. We've mostly left them out of our tallying because their numbers are so low across the board.
The Mother Town went Democratic; it also tossed all three questions out (No. 1 1,391-903; No. 2, 1,623-618; No. 3, 1,657-663). State Rep-elect Gailanne Cariddi, running unopposed, took 1,864 votes. Town Clerk Haley Meczywor speculated native son David Bissaillon, trounced by Cariddi in the primary, might gain some write-in votes. Or maybe some disappointed Bissaillon backers couldn't bring themselves to check Cariddi's name.
In case anyone was wondering, Sen. Benjamin B. Downing was elected unopposed, as was District Attorney David F. Capeless. Tom Bowler, who like Cariddi won the Democratic primary, was also elected unopposed.
Rep. Smitty Pignatelli inherits Dan Bosley's mantle as dean of the Berkshire delegation. Pignatelli defeated Laugenour overwhelmingly with numbers missing from only a handful of towns.
Laugenour and Miller's hoped-for Green revolution didn't come to pass but they certainly gave it their all. Final numbers between Speranzo and Miller were 5,440 to 4,459, a difference of 981 votes.
We're wrapping up for the night, pending any crazy breaking news. We can say it looks like the Democrats have hung on to power in Massachusetts, if not other parts of the country.
At 9:45, Gov. Deval Patrick is leading Republican Charlie Baker; Tim Cahill and Jill Stein are barely in the running. Suzanne Bump of Great Barrington is leading Mary Connaughton and Nate Forutune. Martha Coakley claims a victory over Jim McKenna for attorney general. We were sent a question about whether McKenna's name was on all the ballots. We haven't heard otherwise and took a photo of the ballot in Clarksburg to be sure.
Congressman Olver beat Republican and tea party candidate Bill Gunn handily, two to one. Having met Mr. Gunn, we thought it might be closer but maybe he needs more seasoning in local office first.
All three ballot questions appear headed for defeat; Question 1, on the exemption for alcohol sales tax, is rather close. Hmm.
We talked to a couple voters who said the ballot questions were what really drove them to the polls.
I wanted to make sure I voted on the questions," said Kathy Kierstand of North Adams. "Those were very important to me."
The possibility of bearing brunt as homeowners if the sales tax was rolled back (Question 3) played a part in bringing Dully and Tracy Saimbert in Adams.
Accompanied by their two very young children, Tracy said, "our property taxes are high enough as it is ... It was very important to vote.
They weren't convinced by proponents assurances that the rollback wouldn't affect aid to cities and towns. "They have to get the money from somewhere," said her husband.
With most of Pittsfield reporting in, it looks like Mark Miller wasn't able to catch incumbent Chris Speranzo. The Green-Rainbow Party had pinned its hopes on an upset in the 3rd District but that rainbow seems to be fading. We're tallying up numbers from PCTV; it looks like Miller came within a 100 votes or less of Speranzo in most wards. It looks like Speranzo hung onto his seat by just under a 1,000 votes. Final unofficial tally per PCTV is 4,004 to 3,098.
Can anyone think of a third-party candidate who came closer?
Miller's party colleague Scott Laugenour (seen at right) didn't do as well. A bit of Pittsfield is in the 4th District. Precinct 5B went for Pignatelli 652, Laugenour 159, reports PCTV.
Pittsfield turnout was 44.4 percent; 12,781 out of 28,995 registered voters went to the polls.
There's still a few more minutes until the polls close in the county but we've got a pretty good idea off the turnout - high.
In Cheshire, the number of voters surprised Town Clerk Christine Emerson. "It's been really steady," said Emerson, who added the town was closing in on 50 percent at 5:30. Just over 900 of the 2,300 registered voters had cast ballots by that time with 2 1/2 hours left.
Williamstown Town Clerk Mary Kennedy put the turnout at 63 percent with nearly an hour left to go. "It's pretty normal for a state election," said Kennedy. "We're on pretty much on target here."
The polls were slower but steady in Adams, with Town Clerk Haley Meczywor putting it at about 33 percent early in the evening. "It's been steady all day," said poll worker Frances Meier.
In Lenox, the tally was 2092 out of 3,684 voters at 6 p.m., or 57 percent. Turnout was expected to be higher in South and Central Berkshire because of the three state representative races.
Reporter Nichole Dupont ran into Scott Laugenour, Green-Rainbow candidate for the 4th Berkshire District, who was feeling good about his party's chances. He'd seen a lot of Green signs around the region.
Sen. John F. Kerry was in Pittsfield on Monday to rally the Democratic troops. Candidates across the political spectrum were pushing to excite voters for today's election. In Massachusetts, Republicans and Democrats are vying for control of the governor's office and Congress.
Berkshire County heads to the polls today to select state and congressional representatives, and a slew of officials for the state's high offices.
Polls opened at 7 a.m.; polling locations are listed here.
We'll be adding information as the day proceeds but don't know if we'll have counts for all the towns tonight - there are too many towns to cover. We appreciate any help in getting final numbers: if you have any results send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, text to 413-652-0808 or tweet us @iberkshires with hashtag #mapoli and/or #Berkshires. You can also post on our Facebook page. See how easy it is?
In North County, we're predicting Gailanne Cariddi as winner in the 1st Berkshire District. Considering she's the only candidate we feel pretty safe saying that. Tom Bowler, who also is running unopposed, will be the winner in the Berkshire County sheriff's race.
There will be one local race: three people are running for two four-year seats on the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee to represent Williamstown. They are incumbents David Langston and Carolyn "Carrie" Green and challenger David Backus, a three-term member of the Williamstown School Committee. There is also a two-year seat to fill a vacancy, for which Abigail Reifsnyder is the only candidate.
Incumbent Robert E. Ericson is running for one of two seats to represent Lanesborough; the second seat, being vacated by Ronald W. Tinkham, a longtime member who decided earlier this year not to run again.
Voters in both Lanesborough and Williamstown will vote on the committee members.
There's a lot of talk about early voting across the nation. We asked a couple town clerks if they've seen anything out of the ordinary for early voting:
Pittsfield City Clerk, Linda Tyer: "We received 604 applicatiosn for absentee ballots and we have 595 actual ballots returned. That's 2 percent of the total number of registered voters. The absentee numbers are about the same as the numbers for the 2009 municipal elections."
Lenox Town Clerk Marie Duby: "234 have applied for absentee ballots. Usually when there's nothing contested those years are pretty light. When there's a governor's race like this year, there are a lot of absentee ballots. As of 8/25 there were 3,684 registered voters. People signed up before the primaries."
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Paul Mark should enjoy his freshman term because with Berkshire County losing population in the 2010 Census, his seat will be carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey nest year. Look for Hancock, New Ashford, Lanesborough, Cheshire and Windsor to be added to Gail Cariddi's 1st Berkshire turf as she sheds her Franklin County towns to the east. Ward 1B in Pittsfield will be added to the 3rd Berkshire District. Smitty P. will gobble up Richmond, Becket and Washington as he gets rid of some Hampden County towns to the east and Rep. Kulik of Worthington (aka The Cowardly Lion), will take Cummington, Middlefield, Plainfield and Ashfield.
The cities of Pittsfield and North Adams will hold municipal elections for mayor, city council and school committee in 2015
You may vote absentee: if you will be absent from your town or city on election day, have a physical disability that prevents you from voting at the polls or cannot vote at the polls because to religious beliefs.