Dartmouth voters favor Biden for President

Nov 4, 2020

The results are in, and Dartmouth voters went for Democrat Joe Biden on Tuesday by a wide margin in an extraordinary election that saw a record-breaking number of ballots cast early.

A majority of the town’s electorate — 54%, or 9,456 voters — chose the former Vice President, compared to the 43% (7,567 people) who voted for incumbent President Trump. 

In 2016, 52% of Dartmouth voters chose Clinton and 41% supported Trump.

This year just 314 people voted for third-party candidates, as opposed to 1,100 in the 2016 election.

178 voters chose Libertarian candidates Jo Jorgensen and Spike Cohen, while 68 voters chose Green-Rainbow party candidates Howie Hawkins and Angela Walker. The remaining 68 votes were write-ins. 

While national results are still streaming in to determine the next US President, Dartmouth’s unofficial election results were released by 10 p.m. on Nov. 3 — meaning that all 17,415 votes cast this year were tallied just two hours after polls closed.

Other Dartmouth winners on Tuesday included incumbent Democratic US Senator Edward J. Markey, who beat his Republican challenger Kevin J. O’Connor with 9,727 votes (58%) to O’Connor’s 7,078 (42%).

Meanwhile incumbent Democratic US Rep Bill Keating won with 9,863 votes (60%) against both Republican challenger Helen Brady (6,325 votes or 38%) and Independent Michael Manley (335 votes or 2%).

As for the two measures proposed on the ballot, Dartmouth voters decided in favor of sharing data with small repair shops (12,031 yes votes or 72% in favor) and against implementing a ranked choice voting system in the state (10,603 no votes or 64% against.)

Nearly half the town’s registered voters — 11,670 out of 23,851, or 48.9% — voted early this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the number of early votes, overall turnout was around the same as in most presidential elections: 73.02% of voters participated this year, in line with the 73.05% of voters who participated in the 2016 presidential election.

Lawyers for Civil Rights, a Boston-based nonprofit, said in a tweet Tuesday afternoon that the group was seeing “an aggressive intensification of Trump electioneering” in small Massachusetts towns, “particularly in Dartmouth and Lawrence.”

The group alleged that they had received “multiple reports of trucks with Trump flags outside of Town Hall” in Dartmouth. 

State law prohibits anyone from promoting or opposing a person, party, or position on a ballot question within 150 feet of a polling place.

The flag waver — who called himself Don but declined to give his last name — claimed that since he was by the middle school, he was not violating electioneering laws.

“I’ve had the police come over and tell me this was fine,” he said. “I’m in a perfectly legal place.”

He noted that at its peak, his demonstration had five supporters standing near Town Hall.

“I’ve stood out here for six hours,” he added.

Interim Director of Development Cody Haddad confirmed that police had met with Don and that they found no illegal electioneering.

“I guess if that’s the most aggressive man in Massachusetts right now, that’s a good problem to have,” he said.

Poll worker Gail Costa said that by 2:30 p.m., nearly 600 people had cast their ballots at the North Library. Costa noted that when polls opened at 7 a.m., the line stretched around the front of the building.

“It’s been crazy,” she said. “But you get that with any presidential election.” 

Steve Sylvia, another precinct 1 worker, said he came to volunteer because he “would like to see a good and fair fight” amid the controversy surrounding the election. 

“It’s like you got Hitler against Joe,” he added.

While some voters cited mistrust in mail-in ballots as their reason for voting in person, many library voters talked about the importance of casting their ballot the day of.

“We always come out on Election Day — corona is not going to stop us,” said Tony Khalife, who voted for Trump.

Khalife said he wanted to reelect the president because he felt the GOP’s tax cuts were beneficial to his business.

“I don’t like [Trump] as a person, but I try to separate that,” he said. “His policies have helped me, which in turn help my employees.” 

Katlin Twardzia said she voted for Biden because she felt his administration would “be better for reproductive rights and education equality.”

Meanwhile, the Crapo Field polling station saw “quite the youth turnout,” according to poll worker Michelle Sparks.

Madison Ruiz, 18, said this was her first election. She said she came out to vote for Biden because “these past four years have been a lot.”

“I really liked Bernie in the primaries, but now it’s time to settle for Biden,” she said.

Chloe Cabral, another 18-year-old first time voter, said she “proudly voted for Biden,” noting that she was “sick of Republicans messing with abortion rights.” 

“I really don’t understand why all these men are out there telling women what to do with their bodies,” she said.

Crapo Field voter Patrick Thornton said he was “a little confused on the questions this year.”

He noted that while he wasn’t fully sure how ranked choice voting would work, he voted for the measure because “it seems like the better idea if you want a majority vote.”

As for the right to repair measure, Thornton said he felt that it was important to keep small repair shops running, so he voted “yes.”