By James Niedzinski
---- — While voters throughout Cape Ann communities turned out split between Congressman now U.S. senator-elect Ed Markey, a Democrat, and his Republican adversary, Gabriel Gomez in their special election Tuesday, Manchester voters also backed a pair of Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion overrides as well.
The first question, which asked voters to exceed the tax limit by roughly $160,000 to cover the cost of repairing the sewer outfall pipe in Manchester Harbor, passed with 1,077 votes in favor and 387 opposed. The repairs had been made from the harborside by using a barge earlier this year.
The second question, which asked voters to exclude $510,000 in debt costs from the Proposition 2 1/2 limits to repair the Singing Beach seawall and other damage done by storms throughout the past spring and winter, passed by a similar count, 1,053-411. Other places around town heavily damaged by the storms included Ocean Street, White Beach, Black Beach and Tucks Point.
Of Manchester’s 3,930 registered voters, 1,495 of them cast their ballots. That’s a turnout of 39 percent, one of the highest on Cape Ann and among the highest in the state on a day when low turnouts prevailed.
In the Senate election, Manchester voters backed Gomez Markey by a count of 804-727. The results mean that, while Markey won by an overall percentage of roughly 55-45 percent, Gomez took both Manchester and Essex while Markey claimed Gloucester and Rockport on Cape Ann.
Essex also had a higher turnout than other commonwealth communities, as 945 registered voters cast their ballots at the Essex Memorial Fire station Tuesday. The town has nearly 2,500 voters and, with a turnout of about 37 percent, the town also backed Gomez in the Senate race.
The former Navy seal and Cohasset businessman received 525 votes in Essex compared to Markey’s 417 votes, according to preliminary results.
Rockport too, had a relatively high turnout, although the town largely supported Markey.
All three of the town’s precincts backed Markey, he pulled in 1,250 votes in Rockport compared to Gomez’s 917. The town also had a high turnout of more than 39 percent, or 2,187 of the town’s 5,500 registered voters.
The town planned ahead, according to Town Clerk Patricia Brown.
One of the first things she did was take a look at the statistics to previous special state elections, the last one was in January of 2010. The town had a high number of voters then too, roughly 60 percent, Brown said.
Generally, the same group of people come out to vote for every election when they can, so she expected a similar number on Tuesday.
”From what I can tell it was steady, there were one or two people at a time and there were no lines,” she said.
Gloucester mirrored statewide results, however, 5,650 of the city’s 20,948 voters cast their ballots on Tuesday, giving the city a turnout of nearly 27 percent.
Markey carried all but one precinct in Gloucester.
In Ward 5, precinct 1, Markey pulled in 363 votes while Gomez had 364. Supporters cast their ballots Tuesday; the precinct has 2,306 registered voters.
The republican candidate also came close in Ward 5 precinct 2, where Markey beat out Gomez by 10 votes.
Markey secured Gloucester beating out Gomez by a count of 3,326 to 2,394.
In addition, voting percentages were sporadic throughout the city. Some precincts had about 17 or 18 percent of their registered voters show up, while precincts had up to about 34 percent of their voters cast their ballots.
Like Brown, City Clerk Linda Lowe has been keeping track of the voting patterns throughout the city.
Usually, Ward 1, Precinct 1, Ward 4, Precinct 2, and both Ward 5 precincts have higher voter turnout percentages than other parts of the city.
Lowe said the weather, among other timely factors, have affected the election, but in what way remains unknown.
”Who comes out to vote is determined by so many intangible things,” she said. “You know (weather) affected things, but in what way, who knows.”
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.