Voter turnout is mixed across Westfield as residents are asked to cast their ballots for or against a $13.6 million bond referendum that would fund roof repairs and replacement on 12 Westfield school district-owned buildings.
While voter turnout is typically low for school board elections, Westfield's Sept. 24th election in which residents soundly defeated a $16.9 million bond referendum that would have funded both the roof work and a lighted turf field, saw an uncharacteristically-high 24 percent of residents head to the polls.
Patch surveyed six polling locations throughout town Tuesday afternoon and found a wide-range of answers when asking poll workers, "How is voter turnout today?"
Poll workers at the Westfield Memorial Library said traffic had been "slow and steady" Tuesday morning but not nearly as busy as the September election.
"But it's still early," a worker said. "You always have someone who runs in at one minute to 9 (p.m.)"
Workers at Wilson Elementary School said the number of voters has been very similar to that of the September election.
"We saw a big rush at 8:45 (a.m.) It comes in spurts," one worker said. "Generally, people were a lot angrier in September. No one seems angry today. Of course no one's allowed to say anything, but there's not much grumbling today."
Over at Franklin Elementary, workers agreed that voter turnout was higher than most school board elections but similar to September. One worker noted that some voters still seem undecided.
At Roosevelt Intermediate School, polls were quiet, without a single voter in sight shortly after 1 p.m. "We had a much bigger turnout in September," workers noted.
Contrarily, McKinley Elementary School was busy, with poll workers stating that turnout was equal to or even higher than in September.
A group of voters outside the school told Patch they hope this referendum is defeated as well. The residents stated that parents shouldn't be "threatened" with having services cut for items they believe should have been budgeted for years ago. Another voter said she didn't like how the two items—the turf field and the roof repairs were bundled in September—causing her to mistrust the Board of Education.
At a mother with children in the district said she hopes the referendum passes because "it's going to be very bad if it doesn't" referring to the reduction in staff, sports and fine arts programs the BOE has stated will be necessary to make up the $4 million needed for repairs to the high school's roof, which is in the most dire condition and requires more than 80 percent to be removed and replaced.
For more information about the bond referendum, visit the district's website.
Check back with Patch this evening for election results after the polls close. Be the first to know. Stay up to the minute on the latest news by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and subscribing to our newsletter.