Westerly voter turnout, first reported at nearly 80 percent, devolves to slightly more than 20 percent

In what was initially reported as an extraordinary voter turnout of nearly 80 percent in a Westerly School Bond referendum, quickly dissolved yesterday as the local Board of Elections reported that the turnout instead was only slightly more than 20 percent of the town’s 18,595 eligible voters.

Confusion was evident yesterday morning when calls to the Secretary of State’s Office, the local Boards of Canvassers and Elections deferred calls that ended in voicemails that went unanswered.

The revised numbers did not change the outcome, a solid rejection of a $71.4 million bond, but certainly fulfilled fears that the viciousness of the campaign would turn voters away.

The initial report of a nearly 80 percent turnout was widely reported. 

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Besides rejecting the school bond, voters rejected an effort by the Town Council to eliminate term limits for councilors. The term limits for Town Council members – two, two-year terms, was initially approved by voters in sweeping charter revisions approved by voters two years ago. Yesterday’s vote affirmed the term limits.

Original Story – Westerly voters reject $71.4 million school bond