Close Elections Go Override Supporters’ Way


Matt Brownsword

Walpole Pride members celebrate their victory after hearing the resul

September 11, 2001: The day strikes fear and powerful emotions in the hearts of American’s around the world. No one, not even the most dedicated citizen of Walpole, will remember that day as the day that a school override passed. Unfortunately, that date is one of the last memorable days for Walpole’s school-supporting townfolk, as that unfortunate day was the last time that an override passed in Walpole. An operational override was voted down in 2007, and since no person looks back at 9/11 with good memories, override voters have not ever had a day, an election, to be proud of. Not until June 2, 2012.

Last Saturday, the voters of Walpole, or the 46 percent of eligible voters that showed up to the polls, the override voters of Walpole finally had something to cheer about.

In an election characterized by the final question on the ballot, the override vote tallied 3,809 to 3,502 votes in the affirmative. With the extremely close margin of 307 votes, a recount will not be out of the question, but the override seems to have passed. Five of the eight precincts in Walpole voted Yes, with only one precinct having a margin over a hundred votes. The closest precinct was precinct eight, with a 37-vote margin in the affirmative, while the largest margin was in precinct two with a 259-vote margin in the affirmative.

The selectman’s race seemed to have also been dictated by the question on the bottom of the ballot, as the two incumbents, Nancy Mackenzie and Chris Timson beat out conservative opponents and override opponents such as Robert Luce and Christopher Donovan. Timson and Mackenzie combined for 52% of the popular vote—27 and 25 percent, respectively—while no other challenger reached more than 15 percent.

Jennifer Geotsis and Patrick Shield won the two spots on the School Committee—yeah, you guessed it, two override proponents—beating out the only non-override supporter on the School Committee ballot, Christine Coury. Shield had 41%, Geotsis garnered 31%, and Coury fell in a close third, with 27%.

Though all the individual results of the election of 2012 were important in the future of Walpole, the override question clearly dictated the results of the election. All the aforementioned victorious candidates supported the override for Proposition 2 1/2. The override, for the first time in eleven years, passed.

Dedicated signholders and voters battled the pouring rain throughout the day to voice their opinions. In a year that saw Rick Santorum triumph over Mitt Romney by a meager seven votes in a presidential primary in Iowa, the 307-vote margin seems rather decisive. However, when you consider that a total of 7,311 votes were cast on the override question, on a day that was plagued by rain, the 307 vote-margin for a suburb is a small margin.

Out of the 7511 votes in Walpole, 7311 people voted on the override. Even if the 200 remaining voters were all ‘No’s,’ the result would have stood. The most important thing out of that tally, however, is the fact that, even though the question was on the back and bottom of the ballot, 97 percent of voters voted on the override, not to mention the amount of people that voted solely because of the override.

September 11, 2001: The date that brings about horrid memories in American history also  redefined the community of Walpole by the voters’ approval of the construction of a new high school.  While the historical implications of the 2012 override remain unwritten, over the next five years (the length of time guaranteed without another override proposal), the date of June 2, 2012 will definitely be etched into the thoughts and minds of all Walpolians.