With lines of voters waiting for the polls to open in Watertown and more than 3,000 early ballot cast, the 2018 State Election drew a heavier than expected voter turn out.
As a result, the final tally of votes was delayed in Watertown. As of 10:40 p.m. only three of 12 precincts had been processed and posted, while ballots at three precincts had not even come into Town Hall. The final results were sent out by the Town Clerk’s office at 4:20 a.m. Wednesday.
Town Clerk John Flynn expected a higher than normal turnout for a governor’s election, but not as high as it appears to be — likely over 60 percent of voters casting ballots.
“I didn’t think it would be this high,” Flynn said. “I was thinking around 50, 51 percent.”
This year’s state election had turnout normally seen in Presidential years. The unofficial results have 15,821 ballots cast in Watertown (approximately 65 percent). In 2016, Watertown voters cast 18,402 ballots, or 75.9 percent. In September’s primary, 6,089 ballots were cast in Watertown, or 25.5 percent of the registered voters. The 2012 Presidential Election had a turnout of 16,863, which was 75 percent of the registered voters.
Even before Tuesday, 3,072 people cast ballots during the early voting period in person, plus 32 more received by mail. More than 600 voted absentee and Flynn received 40 e-ballots from residents serving in the military overseas or living overseas.
With neither of the town’s state representatives nor the state senator running opposed, Flynn said he could not point to one race that he thought captured voters’ interest.
“It might be a combination of the governor and the senate races, and then you have the ballot questions,” Flynn said.
Here are the unofficial Watertown results (the final results will be certified by the Secretary of State’s office):
Democrat Elizabeth Warren, who was re-elected to the U.S. Senate, received 11,673 in town, while Republican Geoff Diehl got 3,382 and independent candidate Shiva Ayyadurai had 562 votes.
In the governor’s race, Charlie Baker, the GOP incumbent, won re-election and narrowly beat Democrat Jay Gonzalez in Watertown, 7,696 to 7,431.
In the race for Congress, incumbent Katherine Clark won the race, and also lead in Watertown. She received 12,351 votes to the GOP’s John Hugo’s 2,909.
In the ballot questions, the vote in Watertown were in line with the overall state results. In Question 1 (nurse ratios) voters in town supported No over Yes by a margin of nearly 2-to-1 (10,114 votes to 5,091).
On Question 2 (creating a citizens commission to change the U.S. Constitution to not treat corporations the same as people), Yes got 12,251 and No received 2,947 votes.
Question 3 (upholding gender identity rights) had more people supporting it in Watertown by a margin of 12,104 to 3,256.