2013 Election Results

by Christopher O'Brien
Wolcott High was jammed with voters at 6 pm Tuesday

Wolcott High was jammed with voters at 6 pm Tuesday

About 48.5% of registered voters showed up to the polls Tuesday according to data released by the Town Clerk on Wednesday. That’s about four points higher than the average for the past four municipal elections. An aggressive campaign by Democratic candidate Michael Gugliotti against five term uncumbent Tom Dunn likely fueled added interest in the race this year. In contrast, only 35% of voters showed up to vote in 2005 when Dunn ran unopposed but other local seats were up for grabs.

2013 Town Election Results

For the first time in several years, no candidate came close enough to force a recount.

Out of the 5,429 voters who turned out for the election, five candidates recieved over 3,000 votes: Mayor Dunn, Third District Councilor Roger Picard, Board of Education member Roberta Leonard, Constable Paul Gallucci, and Town Clerk Debbie Slater, who was uncontested. Dunn received 4,155 votes.

 

Voters at Wakelee were greeted by a truck owned by Mayoral candidate Steven Olmstead

Voters at Wakelee were greeted by a truck owned by Mayoral candidate Steven Olmstead

Besides Dunn and Slater, it seems to help to have had a prominent job in town to achieve high voting results. Picard used to be a popular police officer in town and Leonard a Kindergarten teacher. Newly elected Board of Education members Thomas Buzzelli and Art Lerz also encountered students for many years. Buzzelli was a Wolcott High School social studies teacher before becoming principal at Wakelee School. Art Lerz served many years as the Head Custodian at Tyrell School.

Gale Mastrofransco poses with her sister and brother Charles Lanza, right. Lanza owns Lakewood Lanes

Gale Mastrofransco poses with her daughter and brother Charles Lanza, right. Lanza owns Lakewood Lanes

Former middle school teachers Francis Masi and Gloria Gubitosi also fared highly in their re-elections. Masi earned the top spot for his Town Council seat in the 2nd District, while Gubitosi finished second to Leonard on the Board of Education. Serving several years as the former Fire Chief probably helped Charles Marsella to hold on to his 1st District Seat on the Council as well, although he finished third.

You don’t need to be involved in education or public safety to win a local seat. All of the other candidates have varying degrees of experience in business, volunteerism and other activities. Yet, no educator has lost a seat either in recent memory.

Dennis Conroy votes at Tyrrell School while his son Alex looks on.

Dennis Conroy votes at Tyrrell School while his son Alex looks on.

These statistics are compiled every election to gauge voter interest and engagement at the local level. Voter turnout is typically higher in even-numbered years for state and Congressional races which utilize mass communication to get out the vote. Local elections are different because they are more personal and voters often meet candidates locally, yet do not involve national policy issues typically talked about on television.Voter turnout was highest at Wakelee School – by almost two percentage points -than Tyrrell. Wolcott High School is the town’s largest voting district. 254 voters opted to absentee ballot this year, although four hundred had requested ballots from the Town Clerk’s office. Some may still be returned and counted as long as they were postmarked by Tuesday. The absentee results roughly reflect the same results as those who voted by machine.

For the first time in state history, unregistered voters were allowed to become registered voters on Election Day. Thirty-five residents did so at Town Hall. Their eligibility was checked before their votes were counted. Of those, 34 voted for Mayor and 33 for Tax Collector. They leaned only slightly more towards Gugliotti than voters who had pre-registered. However, those brand new voters more strongly favored Tax Collector Cheryl McQueen Brundage 60-40% although she lost by the vote overall 46-54% to Darlene Tynan.

The proposal was controversial at the State Capitol last year, with legislative Republicans fearing that same-day registration could lead to problems with verifying a voter’s status.

June Vitiello’s total vote count may change by three votes as the Town Clerk is checking into a possible transcription error, but this would not affect the outcome of the ZBA race. Vitiello was the top vote-getter for that office.

There are several offices where more than one candidate is elected. For each of the Town Council districts, three candidates are elected. Nine Board of Education candidates are elected to serve. The Board of Assessment Appeals has three elected members and five serve on the Zoning Board. Three Constables are elected for those positions.

All offices including the Mayor are elected to a two-year term except for Town Clerk and Tax Collector. They will serve four year terms.

 

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