Although the official voting day for Newton’s three override questions is Tuesday, March 14, residents can start casting their ballots via early voting from March 3 through March 7, and have until March 7 to apply for absentee or mail-in ballots if they’ll be out of town on the 14th.
But it remains to be seen if the various options for voting will lead to an increase in ballots, as Newton has seen a steady decline in turnout for override votes.
This year, residents will vote on three measures: A $3.5 million tax increase for work at the Franklin School, a $2.3 million tax increase for work at the Countryside School, and a $9 million increase in the general city budget, with $4.5 million earmarked for schools. That last increase would add $290 to the median homeowner’s yearly taxes in this coming year, and the other two increases are expected to add $183 by 2030.
Residents can vote in person at their normal precinct (see list at end of article) between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on March 14. But they can also vote in person at City Hall for the next five days — early voting will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 3, March 6 and March 7, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. over the weekend, on March 4 and March 5.
Officials sent out Vote By Mail applications in January, and the deadline for requesting a ballot for the override votes is March 7 at 5 p.m. Voters can send those applications or a signed request to the City Clerk’s Office that includes your name, the address where you are registered to vote, the address where you want the ballot to be sent and which election you would like a ballot for.
Last year, the City Council unanimously approved spending $210,000 on the special election. About $100,000 of that is budgeted for election workers and other staff, and $44,000 is earmarked for postage for mailers.
While previous overrides have seen fairly tight races, numbers declined by the most recent override vote. In 2002, 27,793 residents – about 57 percent of registered voters – came out to vote, approving that $11.5 million override 14,251 to 13,542. In 2008, 47 percent of Newton voters cast their ballots, and that time voted down a $12 million override, 11,118 to 13,331.
That 2008 override vote was held during a special election in May, while the 2013 override vote was during a special election in March. That ballot also contained three measures — an operating override for $8.4 million and two school construction overrides totaling $3 million — but only 32 percent of voters came to the polls, approving all three measures. The operating override passed by a margin of 9,653 to 8,203.
Dan Atkinson can be reached at email@example.com.
Where to vote on March 14
Ward 1, Precinct 1: LINCOLN ELIOT SCHOOL, 191 PEARL ST
Ward 1, Precinct 2: GRACE EPISCOPAL CHURCH , 76 ELDREDGE ST
Ward 1, Precinct 3: BIGELOW MIDDLE SCHOOL, 42 VERNON ST
Ward 1, Precinct 4: PELLEGRINI PLAYGROUND, 11 HAWTHORN ST
Ward 2, Precinct 1: ALBEMARLE FIELDHOUSE, 250 ALBEMARLE RD
Ward 2, Precinct 2: CABOT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 229 CABOT ST
Ward 2, Precinct 3: CABOT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 229 CABOT ST
Ward 2, Precinct 4: NEWTON FREE LIBRARY, 330 HOMER ST
Ward 3, Precinct 1: SCANDINAVIAN LIVING CENTER, 206 WALTHAM ST
Ward 3, Precinct 2: TEMPLE SHALOM, 175 TEMPLE ST
Ward 3, Precinct 3: FRANKLIN SCHOOL, 125 DERBY ST
Ward 3, Precinct 4: FRANKLIN SCHOOL, 125 DERBY ST
Ward 4, Precinct 1: BURR SCHOOL, 171 PINE ST
Ward 4, Precinct 2: HAMILTON COMMUNITY CENTER, 545 GROVE ST
Ward 4, Precinct 3: WILLIAMS SCHOOL, 141 GROVE ST
Ward 4, Precinct 4: BURR SCHOOL, 171 PINE ST
Ward 5, Precinct 1: EMERSON COMMUNITY CENTER, 51 PETTEE ST
Ward 5, Precinct 2: HYDE COMMUNITY CENTER, 90 LINCOLN ST
Ward 5, Precinct 3: ZERVAS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 30 BEETHOVEN AVE
Ward 5, Precinct 4: ZERVAS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 30 BEETHOVEN AVE
Ward 6, Precinct 1: BOWEN SCHOOL, 280 CYPRESS ST
Ward 6, Precinct 2: BOWEN SCHOOL, 280 CYPRESS ST
Ward 6, Precinct 3: HYDE COMMUNITY CENTER, 90 LINCOLN ST
Ward 6, Precinct 4: MASON RICE SCHOOL, 149 PLEASANT ST
Ward 7, Precinct 1: CHURCH OF THE REDEEMER, 379 HAMMOND ST
Ward 7, Precinct 2: BIGELOW MIDDLE SCHOOL, 42 VERNON ST
Ward 7, Precinct 3: WARD SCHOOL, 10 DOLPHIN RD
Ward 7, Precinct 4: WARD SCHOOL, 10 DOLPHIN RD
Ward 8, Precinct 1: OAK HILL MIDDLE SCHOOL, 130 WHEELER RD
Ward 8, Precinct 2: TEMPLE BETH AVODAH, 45 PUDDINGSTONE LANE
Ward 8, Precinct 3: COUNTRYSIDE SCHOOL, 191 DEDHAM ST
Ward 3, Precinct 4: SHUMAN COMMUNITY CENTER, 675 SAW MILL BROOK PARKWAY