WESTFORD — After an official recount of the measure, Question 3 has once again passed by a narrow majority.
The question, which asked whether the Town of Westford should observe the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, superseding local references to Columbus Day, originally won by 15 votes during the May 2 Annual Town Election.
1,068 residents originally voted in favor of the resolution during the election, while 1,053 residents voted against the resolution.
After the May 24 recount, the measure once again passed by a 15-vote margin. However, during the recount, officials recorded 1,065 votes in favor of the measure and 1,050 votes against the measure.
Officials, residents serve as observers
A number of current and former members of the School Committee, including Chair Chris Sanders, Vice Chair Valery Young, and former member Gloria Miller served as observers in favor of the resolution.
Sanders said that he was “feeling good” regarding the recount process.
“It was very open and fair,” Chris Sanders, Chair of the School Committee told WestfordCAT. “I’m thankful to the voters and the clerk’s office for the hard work to make this recount work in a smooth manner.”
Other officials, such as Select Board Chair Tom Clay and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Chair Joe Diamond also served as observers in favor of the question.
Diamond noted that he was “pleased” with the results.
“It’s a good process to have gone through, and it’s a very thorough process,” Diamond told WestfordCAT. “Of equal importance to the result is the fact that we had a very open process and it started an important conversation.”
He added, “I’m so impressed by the professionalism of all of the town employees and volunteers.”
Additional officials, including Finance Committee Clerk Dennis Galvin and committee member Heather Fitzpatrick, served as observers in opposition of the resolution.
Close result remains
First Middlesex Republican State Committeewoman Kathy Lynch, who also served as an observer in opposition to the resolution, thanked town staff for their work on the recount process.
“I just want to thank the Town of Westford and all of the staff for today,” Lynch said. “This was a great opportunity to see how the process works in Westford, especially since we have new machines.”
She added, “It was a very close vote, it was still pretty much tied. We were able to take a very close look together.”
A lead petitioner for the recount, Anthony DiLeo, noted the process was “eye-opening.”
“I think the final outcome is what it is. I didn’t expect a major change,” DiLeo told WestfordCAT. “It really reflects what’s been shown over the last three years, that the town is split on this.”
The question is a nonbinding public opinion advisory question. Though results remain unchanged, advocates for Columbus Day could petition the Select Board to maintain the status quo.
Auditing the cost, final ballot totals
Town Clerk Patty Dubey noted that though there is a cost to the recount, she was unable to provide an exact figure at the time of reporting.
“I don’t know,” she told WestfordCAT. “It [legal counsel] won’t come out of my budget to pay Town Counsel. I’ll have to pay Cory [police detail] and some of the workers do like to be paid and I want to pay them.”
She added, “the most expensive part was legal counsel, which you need [for the process.]”
Dubey added that seven ballots were removed from the final total. Three ballots were removed in support of the resolution, three ballots were removed in opposition to the resolution, and one blank ballot was removed from the total number of blank ballots.
May 2 Annual Town Election official results:
- 1,068 in favor of the measure.
- 1,053 against the measure.
- 38 blank votes.
May 24 recount totals:
- 1,065 in favor of the measure.
- 1,050 against the measure.
- 37 blank votes.