Sunday, September 9, 2012

Reflections on the primary election results - Sep 6

Yes, I'll admit to taking the summer of for this weekly recap. With school back in session, the primary election behind us, Franklin business is beginning to get 'busy' again. This is not to say nothing was done during the summer months, no not at all! Just a recognition that the volume of traffic (i.e your interest) had declined significantly as you went about your summer.

So with the primary election results at top of mind, let's review some thoughts from the election.

I have grouped the election results by type:
Local = the biannual election for the Franklin government (light blue)
Override = includes both the operational overrides and the high school debt exclusion (light pink)
Presidential = the major election every four years
State = just the MA elections including the special election to fulfill the Kennedy seat (light yellow) 

Brown vs. Warren
One could argue that the recent primary is more of a 'local' than state election and the results certainly do fit more inline with recent Franklin local elections. Given the separation of ballots (Democratic, Republican, and Green Rainbow), it really does belong in the state category. Had either Warren or Brown be contested within their party, the overall results might have been different. This campaign is already getting considerable media coverage and campaign ads have been frequent from both sides. How much of an effect did it have on this election? I would say very little given the no-contest races for both candidates.

Looking at the results for both Warren and Brown, Brown might be quite happy with what he sees. A great percent of the Republicans who came out to vote actually cast their vote for him (96%) than those on the Democratic side cast their vote for Warren (76%).

10th Norfolk District 
For the 'real' local portion of the election, the 10th Norfolk seat being vacated by the retirement of Jim Vallee, the two sets of primary results are interesting. On the Democratic side, Jeff Roy took 1610 of Franklin votes with Peter Padula taking 1220. Another 39 Democrats left their ballot blank (could not decide?) and another 3 Democratic voters wrote in for another person. At the Nov 2011 election, Jeff Roy gathered over 2400 votes for his Town Council campaign. With a good vote turnout likely coming this November with the Presidential election and all the campaign ads to remind folks to vote, this could be a good sign for Jeff.

On the Republican side, Stolle Singleton took 688 votes to Richard Eustis 684 and John Jewell took 488. There were 79 blanks (Republicans who couldn't decide?) and another 14 voters who cast their ballot for a write in candidate. Unfortunately for Ms Singleton, her four vote margin was not enough to cover for the votes that the Medway voters cast in Mr Eustis home town and she finished second overall. How the Republicans may vote in November will be interesting to see. Mr Eustis is going to need to do much better in Franklin to take the head to head race against Mr Roy.

Note: the Medway totals and overall election totals can be found here:

Waiting for the results
Waiting for the results on election night requires patience. The Town Clerk and her team have a set process to go through to ensure accurate and fair results for the voters and candidates. For those who came out to vote, you know that the small gym (instead of the field house) was the site of the election this time. Given the warm and humid weather, it made for a warm day for all the election workers. Fortunately, the custodial staff managed to round up a number of fans from elsewhere int he high school to make the conditions tolerable!

Counting the votes is a careful process. The check in lists and the check out lists for each precinct need to be tallied to see that they agree. This confirms that the right number of voters who came into Precinct 1 (for example) actually checked out with the Precinct 1 tally and then cast their ballot in the Precinct 1 box. The box runs an electronic total reading the ballot. This total is taken and input into a spreadsheet for the official vote count. Each question or candidate gets their totals by precinct entered in by one person while one reads the total and other observes the process. This helps to avoid transposition errors in the manual entry. This entire process is done separately for each ballot and in this case you had three ballots: Democratic, Republican and Green Rainbow.

Once the totals are entered and tallied and validated, they can be printed and shared with those waiting. Among the waiting are the candidates, family members, supporters, party representatives and members of the media. The small portable printer took quite some time to print the spreadsheets. Could the Town Clerk use another printer? Yes, they could also arrange for technical support and have that individual connect the Clerk's laptop to one of the high schools printers and get a better and quicker output.

The results from the MA State Primary election on Sep 6 can be found here

The spreadsheet with the summary of election results by Franklin precinct that drove the chart (above) can be found here:

Please note that the November 2011 registrations by precinct were copied for both the March high school vote and the recent state primary. Once I get a full precinct total from our Town Clerk, I'll make the updates. Given that the total registered voters is just over 20,000. The percentages will not vary enough to change the thoughts.


  1. Thank you, FM! Very valuable insights. If you want/need helpers to do your watchdog role on gen election night, please let people know!

  2. Susan, thanks with November coming up. I'll keep that in mind.