MANCHESTER, NH – In Ward 5, where every vote truly counts, a 10 percent turnout for the Special Aledermanic Election isn’t too bad.
Ward 5 Moderator Paul Crawford had no trouble getting a vote count around 5 p.m. – 330 voters so far – an average of 33 per hour – already beating the ward’s all-time low turnout of 325.
“The amazing fact is that we’ve had nine new registrations today,” said Crawford, who noted several of those included new Americans.
“We had an Iraqi family come in to vote. They proudly told us that they voted in Iraq, as well – because they had only recently been able to vote there,” said Crawford.
The new registrations boosted the number of registered voters in the ward from 3,202 to 3,211.
Crawford said foot traffic into the Beech Street School polling place had been “slow and steady” all day.
The election is being held to select a replacement for long-time Alderman Ed Osborne, who died in January.
A group of about two-dozen people stood clustered outside of the school in the evening sun, including three of the five candidates – Tony Sapienza, Cheryl Mitchell and Richard Olson Jr.
“I’ve been out here all day,” said Mitchell, “save for a half hour.”
Sapienza had the most visual presence, with a majority of sign holders in his corner, and two pick-up trucks strategically parked at the entrance and exit of the parking lot, on Beech Street and Maple Street, bearing “Vote Tony Sapienza” and “Vote Here” signs.
Olson was also on hand, holding a sign.
Candidates Ted Rokas and Tim O’Flaherty are also on the ballot.
Crawford noted that many of the ward “regulars” hadn’t shown up yet to vote as of 5 p.m. While he said he was hopeful that there might be a rush of voters in the final two hours, it wasn’t likely.
“I won my election as moderator six years ago with 10 votes. My runner-up was Mickey Mouse, with four votes,” said Crawford.
Polls close at 7 p.m. We’ll bring you the results of the special election as soon as they are available.