Fewer than 5 percent of Andover’s voters turned out to return selectmen incumbents Alex Vispoli and Paul Salafia back to the board for three years.
Voter apathy was the largest conversation piece following yesterday’s annual town elections.
Vispoli took 843 votes in the race with 1,054 cards cast, awarding him a fourth term. Salafia took second with 646 votes, earning him his first three-year term. He joined the board two years ago to finish off a term vacated by former member Jerry Stabile.
Larry Bruce, the third candidate in the race, received 305 votes.
With 22,862 registered voters in Andover, only 4.61 percent of them voted yesterday.
Candidates, officials disappointed with turnout
Standing at the high school’s field house moments before the polls closed, Bruce said of the 4.6 percent turnout: “I wouldn’t interpret it as a positive. The first question is, ‘Why?’”
Bruce said the town’s charter needs an update.
“If anything, this should be a signal that voters aren’t involved at the local level,” he said. “We should be looking at our charter and our form of town government.”
Town Clerk Larry Murphy said he “didn’t expect a big turnout, but I frankly hoped for something better than this.”
“There was only one race, and you had two incumbent selectmen against a non-incumbent challenger,” he said. “That didn’t seem to draw a lot of public attention.”
There were no challengers for School Committee, Housing Authority, moderator or Punchard Free School trustee.
Even those who won the selectmen’s race didn’t seem enthusiastic about the turnout.
“I believe the selectmen race is one of the most important races to every citizen, because it is so direct,” Salafia said. “When is the last time a U.S. senator had a direct effect on every citizen? This vote should be very important to them, and I’m discouraged that the turnout is so low.”