Derry Voter Turnout Stands at 16 Percent for Primary

Derry distinguished itself in the September primary with a voter turnout of 16 percent, an improvement on the 2 percent in the March 2014 town elections.

Renee Routhier, head Supervisor of the Checklist, reported that Derry had 20,224 registered voters by the end of Primary Day. It was 20,126 earlier in the week and, Routhier said, most of the new voters registered the day of the primary. There were 3,311 votes cast and, Routhier said, “it was a typical turnout for a primary.”

The state’s campaigns for national office were nasty, with negative television ads posted against almost every candidate, and the invective floated down to the local level, with local candidates for state offices facing attempts to smear them in their quest for the $100 per year jobs.

State Senate candidate Frank Sapareto faced an allegation of threatening convenience store workers, which was later withdrawn, and his opponent James Foley withdrew from the campaign after negative material from his past was brought to light days before the primary. Foley, former chairman of the Derry Republican Committee, still managed to “win” his town, though he lost on the district level. The State Senate seat includes Windham and Hampstead as well.

And an out-of-state group sent out two negative fliers against Republican State Representative candidate Jim Webb. It didn’t derail Webb, who brought home the highest vote total of the Republican State Representative contenders.

Town Moderator Margaret Ives, who spent much of the day at the Gilbert H. Hood Middle School polling site, said she saw a mixture of people exercising their privilege to vote. There were young mothers with children in tow, middle-agers and businesspeople on the way to or from work. Ives was especially impressed with the elderly and handicapped people. “It’s beautiful,” she said of the odds these residents overcome to vote.

While Ives thinks “we could always have more people,” she was pleased with the turnout.

Incumbent Kevin Coyle of Derry squeaked by challenger Kevin Waterhouse of Windham to take the Republican primary for County Commissioner. Coyle’s total vote was 4,090, compared to Waterhouse’s 3,768. Waterhouse did better in his home town, Coyle said, adding that he relied on Derry, Londonderry and Chester to put him over the top.

No Democrat was on the ballot for that post.

With reelection in November, Coyle said he plans to keep doing what he’s been doing. “I want to continue to eliminate unnecessary departments, and keep the county part of the tax rate as low as I can,” he said.

As for Waterhouse, he said while he’s pleased with his good showing, he will not run again. “This is a four-year term, and by the time it comes around again I’ll be retired,” he said. “This was my last foray into politics.”

See related stories on pages 9 and 10.