Updated: Ranlett, Moynihan Each Win By Single Vote in Plaistow Race

Plaistow, N.H., Town Hall.

Plaistow, N.H., Town Hall.

Steven Ranlett defeated Francine Hart by just one vote, 515 to 514, in the contest for the one Plaistow selectman’s post that appeared on the ballot in Tuesday’s town election, while only one vote separated the two candidates for three-year terms for Conflict of Interest posts.

Both John Moynihan and David Bird were elected to the Conflict of Interest posts, 592 and 591 respectively.

The town approved the collective bargaining agreement with members of Teamsters Local 633, and the Timberlane School District operating budget and wage increases were also approved by the voters. The citizens petition favoring the continuation of the town manager post was approved by a vote of 658 to 318. The non-binding Vote of Confidence in the Timberlane School District superintendent was approved by a 570 to 393 margin.

Election results released by Town Clerk Maryellen Pelletier show that 1,069 registered voters turned out at the Pollard School on Main Street to a partly cloudy day and temperatures between 45 and 50 degrees. Pelletier’s prediction of voter turnout two weeks ago proved to be prescient. As WHAV reported at the time, she predicted 1,000 registered voters would cast ballots.

Tuesday’s weather was in stark contrast to what voters would have faced a week ago. Faced with the prospect of blizzard conditions, more than 25 towns in New Hampshire postponed their elections and town meetings in the interest of public safety.  In Plaistow’s case, the election was moved back a week.

Contested town and school district offices, ballot articles for both the town and Timberlane Regional School District and the above average temperatures still didn’t motivate the majority of registered voters to head to the polls on Tuesday. Approximately 5,781 residents of the town are registered to vote.

And while sunny skies prevailed for a good portion of the day over the town Tuesday, the New Hampshire Secretary of State, William Gardner, placed a cloud of conflict over the day’s election results. The controversy centers around whether cities and towns have the right to postpone an election. The secretary of state expressed his opposition to postponing the elections, while officials in those communities believe they operated within their authority to do so. It would appear that this standoff could wind up being resolved at the state capital, as both sides have expressed a desire to pass legislation spelling out procedures for future elections.


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