TYNGSBORO -- Polls are open until 8 p.m. in today's town election, with only one contested race in town for a Board of Assessors' seat.
Polling locations at Town Hall and Tyngsboro Elementary School were quiet Tuesday morning, with both locations reporting only 19 votes cast in person. In 2013, there were 7,911 registered voters in town.
This year, voters will be asked to review a series of uncontested races, including those running for seats on the Board of Selectmen, the Planning Board and the School Committee. Selectman Corliss Lambert is running for reelection with newcomer William Gramer. Current Selectman Allen Curseaden is leaving the board down. Thomas Delmore is seeking reelection to the Planning Board. For School Committee, both members Paul Mitchell an Hillari Wennerstrom are running as incumbents.
There is a vacancy in this year's election for two seats on the Board of Health with just Sheila Perrault running. And, with no one running for the open seat on the Finance Committee, former School Committee member Burt Buchman has decided to return to public service. He's launched a write-in campaign via social media. On Election Day, he said he still believes it's important for residents to get out and vote, even with a limited scope of candidates.
"One of the things I think we've noticed probably over the last few years is how few folks want to come forward to run for office," he said. "A voter can make a difference."
Ann Conant, who is also running for reelection to a three-year Library Trustees seat, is running for the one contested seat this year, a three-year post with the Assessors, against Michael Correia. Conant stood outside Town Hall Tuesday on a cold, gray morning, hoisting a sign and waving to cars driving by on Bryants Lane. She said she's served on the board for about six years and the race is usually uncontested. The board even has a hard time getting people to run some years, she said.
"When you get apathetic about voting, even if there's nobody on the ballot then people could sense there's a true apathy in the right to vote," she added, "and we certainly wouldn't want that to happen. It's the same thing with Town Meeting. I'd love to see more people show up."
There are two vacancies on the ballot for one-year and three-year Cemetery Commissioner seats as well. Selectmen have placed an article on the Town Meeting warrant to ask voters how to proceed from here. Article 30 for Town Meeting -- scheduled for Tuesday, May 20, at 7 p.m. at Tyngsboro Elementary -- proposes either selectmen act as the cemetery commissioners or appoint others to fill the openings.
Selectman Bob Jackson previously told The Sun he was "disappointed" to see so few residents running for office in town.
Colleen Gabriel, serving as warden at the Town Hall voting location, said turnout was unusually low this year. By about 11 a.m., only 19 votes had been cast with eight absentee ballots. She said even with minimal contested races, she feels it's important for people to get out and exercise their right to vote.
"You never know," she said. "There could be a write-in at the last minute. There's messages on Facebook and social media so people could still vote for not just what's on the list. ... If you live in the town, you should be voting. It's as simple as that."
This year, John Pelletier is running for reelection to the Housing Authority with Robert Kydd seeking reelection to serve as Town Moderator. Frederick Perrault is seeking reelection to a three-year seat on the Sewer Commission.
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