, Derry, New Hampshire

November 8, 2012

Derry voters turn out in droves

Turnout nudges 90 percent

By Julie Huss
Derry News

---- — DERRY — Two Democrats will be heading to Concord to represent District 6 in the House, something that hasn’t happened for a while in this traditionally Republican town.

Eight Republicans will be going, too.

Democrats Mary Till and Betsy Burtis won House seats Tuesday with 6,547 and 6,294, respectively.

Turnout was impressive with16,389 — or 88 percent — of the town’s 18,594 registered voters casting ballots.

Early totals gave GOP Rep. Brian Chirichiello the top spot with 7,332 votes; Rep. Jim Webb had 7,102 votes; Rep. Beverly Ferrante got 7,071; Rep. Frank Sapareto took 6,637; Rep. John O’Connor had 6,549, and Rep. Bob Fesh had 6,074.

Other Republicans who were not incumbents and making the cut were David Thompson with 6,373 votes and David Milz with 5,854.

Those not making the top 10 were GOP incumbent Kevin Reichard with 5,760 votes; Republican Christian Bright with 5,793 votes; and Democrats Nick Arancio with 5,596 votes and Bobby Jones, 5,807.

Derry voters gave Mitt Romney top totals with 8,309 votes.

Voters also picked Maggie Hassan as their gubernatorial choice with 7,871 votes.

The day started big with polls opening early and turnout steady.

“It’s been very busy,” checklist supervisor Judy Strakalaitis said. “Much better than the primary.”

That included signing up hundreds of new voters.

“We had only about 85 (register at the polls) for the whole town at the primary,” Strakalaitis said.

Lines formed right away at District 4 polling place Gilbert H. Hood Middle School with voters backed up through the school’s hallways when polls opened at 7 a.m.

By midday, polls were still energized with more than 1,200 voters already casting ballots at Calvary Bible Church, 4,000 voting at Pinkerton Academy and another 2,100 voting at Hood.

O’Connor stood at Calvary Bible Church early in the day holding his sign.

“This isn’t even my district,” he said.

Candidates said standing at the polls is important.

“I like to meet people,” Webb said. “I’m trying to introduce myself and a lot of people stop to shake my hand.”

Milz said he didn’t think standing at the polls swayed anyone’s vote once they arrived.

“I firmly believe that signs don’t change anything,” he said. “It’s all about people and finally putting a face to your name.”

Poll volunteers said lines moved smoothly even with the new Voter ID Law in effect.

Many people had IDs in hand when lining up for a ballot.

“No one is being denied the vote,” Webb said. “It’s a little inconvenience but that’s its.”

Dorothy Butler forgot her ID when she arrived to vote but was happy to run back out to her car to get it.

“I think it’s the best idea on the planet,” Butler said of the new law. “I would have walked home to get it and it’s a good idea to protect everybody.”

Chet Ham voted at Hood and said showing his ID was a good thing.

“I think it’s fine, no problem,” Ham said.

Newly elected Burtis had a different view.

“Overall, I think it’s OK, but when you think about who it hurts, it’s sort of a biased view,” she said. “Voting is not just a responsibility, it’s also a right.”

David Nelson said he had hope for what lies ahead, especially for the state and nation.

“I just hope whoever wins will be mindful of a divided electorate if the outcome is close, and govern appropriately,” Nelson said. “There is no mandate to be found in a narrow victory. Let’s try to find common ground.”