On Friday afternoon, the “official” results for the Town election were posted. They came with a clarification about an issue that some blog commenters voiced concern over. In the original count, the tallies for two precincts were accidentally flipped.
Town Clerk Jim Hegarty posted:
On election night, the posted unofficial results included a typo where Town Clerk Jim Hegarty listed the results for Precinct 2 as Precinct 3, and Precinct 3 as Precinct 2. Both candidates in the Selectmen’s race were notified of this error on the morning after the election.
In a message to me, Hegarty further explained:
At the end of an 18-hour election workday, I made a typo when I typed the unofficial election results into an Excel spreadsheet and labelled the results for Precinct 2 as Precinct 3 and Precinct 3 as Precinct 2. I spoke with both candidates the next morning and explained my mistake. It had zero impact on the election results – just an embarrassing gaffe on my part.
Neither candidate for Selectman wants a recount.
What made the flip notable is that this year’s election had a big variation in results per precinct.
Precinct 2 cast double the number of votes for Michael Weishan than they did for Andrew Dennington. It’s also the precinct that had the highest voter turnout.
However, in the other two areas of town, Dennington outperformed Weishan enough to win the full election by 23 votes.
Precinct 2 contains neighborhoods that have been actively opposed to the proposed Park Central development. Many outspoken opponents were angered by some actions of the Zoning Board of Appeals while Dennington served as a member, then Chair. So, for Dennington to initially be shown as performing so much better in that precinct than Precinct 3 jumped out.
Below are the final results:
I’m also sharing the final results for the Regional School Committee’s Northborough representative. While I got the results of who won correct, I made a big error myself in sharing the unofficial results last week.
I had combined both Southborough and Northborough results to calculate the totals. I neglected to realize that Northborough’s figures already incorporated Southborough’s reported votes.
In the end, the margin between candidates was smaller than I thought.
I was correct in asserting that Kathleen Howland had the definitive lead in securing a seat. But instead of losing by 3 votes, Miriam Ibrahami lost to Karen Ares by 13 votes. Those details are below:
Click here for the full Southborough official election results.
Updated (5/18/21 8:15 am): A commenter pointed out that I had inaccurately described the difference between Dennington and Weishan’s total votes as 27 instead of 23.
There have been numerous calls over the past week for me to ask for a recount of the May 12 election, as the margin of loss was so tiny—3%, or 23 votes. After speaking with our Town Clerk, Jim Hegarty, I am sufficiently satisfied that there are not 24 votes to be found, and I have no desire to be associated with hanging chads or those crazies in Arizona looking for bamboo paper. One of the marks of a true winner is knowing how to lose gracefully, and I intend to follow that example. My opponent carried on a fair campaign that stayed pretty much to the high ground. If I were to make a single complaint, it would be against the sitting chairs of Advisory and BOS, who broke with longstanding precedent of non-involvement and actively campaigned for my opponent. We need to discourage such blatantly partisan behavior in the future and return to the neutral tone and tenor that has happily characterized our elected officials in the past.
However in acknowledging defeat, let’s not forget that almost half the electorate expressed a desire for real change on the Board of Selectman. They wanted a board that worked proactively, instead of just waiting for problems to arrive on our doorstep. They asked for a board that made real plans for moving Southborough into the 21st century, taking advantage of a once in-a-lifetime availability of federal funds to solve some of our intransigent infrastructure issues, such as lack of north/south connectivity, lack of a real community center, and better recreational facilities for adults and seniors. They desired a Southborough that embraced our past, protected our historic sites and buildings, and made sure that the imagery we use in our public spaces is welcoming to people of all colors, creeds and beliefs, not just a vocal few. They stated that it is entirely unfair that our large private educational institutions continue to pay us pennies in lieu of taxes, and they are alarmed at the rate that these schools are gobbling up houses along Main Street. And perhaps most importantly of all, they avidly desired that the BOS finally dedicate itself to correcting our lack of affordable housing, so that draconian projects like Park Central can never be forced on us again.
This all is to say that much work still lies ahead, and to better educate ourselves on some of these issues, I am founding today a new forum for concerned citizens, SouthboroughForward. I envision this as a totally non-partisan site for people who wish to know more about the inner workings of our town, where we lift up the covers and look behind the curtains at some of the people, places and issues that affect the way we live here. Some of the topics I plan to investigate are: the total myth of mixed-stream recycling in Southborough (it isn’t what you think!); some overlooked concerns with the Downtown Initiative; how the Building Department allowed two listed historic structures to be demolished; what PILOT payments could really do for the Town budget; some real plans for saving the Old Burial Ground, and a host of other issues. So, if these topics interest you, or if you just wish to stay in touch until the next election round, please sign up HERE. (https://votemichaelweishan.com/southboroughforward/)
Finally, I want to say thank you again to all the hundreds of people who voted for me this past election day. I am truly humbled and honored by your support. As for those of you that didn’t—well, I have another whole year to work to change your mind!
Thanks again to all.
Beth, the above article contains two different final counts for the recent election.
The article itself says the final difference was 27 votes.
The chart reflects a final difference of 23 votes, not 27 votes. The total of 462 minus the total of 439 is 23 votes, right? Which is it? One of those figures is an error, right?
This is exactly why both candidates should have a discussion and put the town voters first, requesting verification through recount. This is a very slim margin and errors abound. Why keep a cloud of error and doubt over this? This is not about dispersions or any single person. It’s about legitimate and appropriate verification.
The transposing of precincts two and three is bad enough. Can’t someone simply assist the town clerk in double checking so this type of mistake does not happen? Thanks
You are correct in the math. I had the wrong figure. I don’t see the logic of how my misreporting the number is “exactly why” more should be done.
BTW, it is clear that Mr. Weishan has conceded. However, state law states that there is a 10 day period where either or both candidates can request a recount on behalf of the voters. So this may warrant another look? Thanks