Election Night, Newburyport, MA

Visiting Newburyport City Hall on election night.

This was my first “full” election night as the “editor” of the Newburyport Blog.

I’d been at Newburyport City Hall for the Spring Election for the Override for Newburyport Schools, and the Primary Election for Mayor, in September. But this was my first “big” one.

Actually, the other two were more “fun” (if having major stuff at stake could be considered in the “fun” category). More relaxed, more kidding around, more people there.

Folks waited in the Newburyport City Council Chambers for the Newburyport City Clerk to come out and read the election results.

Except for Bruce Menin (School Committee) and Al Lavender (Mayor) there were no candidates there. I asked Audrey McCarthy (who is stepping down as Newburyport City Councilor at Large in January 2008) where everybody was.

Audrey told me that most candidates like to wait somewhere else, so if they lose, they have time to compose themselves, and not have to be there in front of everyone.

This made sense to me.

The folks who were there, were from the different campaigns, to get the election results, and then phone them onto their candidate.

Two people got phone calls from Ward 4 about 6 minutes after 8:00 PM, and the cat was out of the bag that it looked like Ed Cameron had won. (This was a huge “upset” over long time (14 years) Newburyport City Councilor, Erford Fowler.)

And then about 7 minutes after 8:00 PM, someone from the Newburyport City Clerk’s office came in, and started reading the election results.

The election results were read ward by ward (Newburyport has 6 wards and Ward 1 is broken up into 2 sections, the Mainland and Plum Island). So gradually I had this string of little numbers, that you have to be real good at math to add up.

People were zipping around the room, comparing notes, trying to make sure that they had written down the right numbers.

Bruce Menin had his computer set up and had all the numbers in a professional looking chart. (Looked just like the charts linked to from the Newburyport Blog election results post, November 6, 2007.) And then finally, we all figured out who had won. (See earlier entry.)

I learned from my previous 2 visits to Newburyport City Hall on election night, that our Newburyport City Clerk, Richard Jones, hands out the “unofficial” results if you wait around afterwards. Which I did.

And I was really impressed by our Newburyport City Clerk’s office. They were meticulous, calm and thoughtful about double and triple checking all the numbers, to make sure that they were all correct. It ended up being an honor to be able to wait and see the whole process unfold.

I got my “unofficial” copy of the election results, and came home and posted them for the readers of the Newburyport Blog.

Mary Eaton