Just over half of Cambridge voters went to the polls today, a "moderate" turnout that could boost the fortunes of liberal candidates.
City workers will begin counting ballots today at 8 a.m., a process that will take five days.
Students turned out to vote in record numbers, and across the city 26,891 residents, 51 per cent of all registered voters, cast ballots, up 6 per cent from two years ago.
Traditionally, heavy turnouts aid prorent control candidates, who currently hold a one-seat majority on the city council.
God Is On the Side...
"There are more tenants than landlords--if they all turn out to vote, we should do well;" one pro-rent control candidate predicted before the election.
Election commissioner Sandra Scheir described student voting as "awfully good." In precinct 6-3, where freshmen and most River House residents vote, turnout increased more than 50 per cent over two years ago. High turnout there could aid council challenger David Sullivan, who was endorsed by several student groups. Returns from Ward 6, Precinct 4, where Mather, Dunster and the Leverett House Towers vote, were unavailable.
Turnout was reported lighter than usual in East and North Cambridge, traditionally more conservative areas. In mid-Cambridge, a liberal section of the city with many tenant voters, poll workers reported heavier voting.
...of the Heavy Artillery
Across Cambridge, volunteers handed out slate cards to voters entering the polls. The Cambridge Civic Association (CCA), Concerned Cambridge Citizens (CCC), the Cambridge Homeowners and Taxpayers (CHT) and the Rent Control Task Force all endorsed slates during the campaign, which turned nasty in its final weeks.
A CCA letter mailed to voters Monday called the campaign "ugly" and blasted rival groups for spreading "falsehoods."
Vote-counting will take place in the gym of the Longfellow Elementary School. Workers count the votes by hand under Cambridge's complicated proportional representation system.