Keen Interest in Trustee Race Brings High Turnout

The new voting machine now in use

Polls busy up until final minutes 

By Liz Schevtchuk Armstrong 

So many Cold Spring citizens surged to the polls for village trustee election Tuesday (March 20) that polling officials exhausted their supply of machine ballots and resorted to “emergency” ballots for two last-minute voters. Another two dozen voters submitted absentee ballots. Whether by machine or by absentee ballot, in all, 623 voters cast 995 votes: 410 for incumbent Trustee Charles Hustis, 401 for political newcomer Matt Francisco, a project manager; and 184 for Tom Rolston, owner of The Depot restaurant. Because three contenders vied for two trusteeships, each voter got to select two candidates; nonetheless, 23 voters wrote-in another name, often that of departing Trustee Airinhos Serradas.

 The 2012 vote count topped that of two previous elections when, like this year, the contest involved only trustee seats and not the mayor’s office. At his first election in 2010, Hustis got 237 votes, ahead of the 219 for Airinhos Serradas, 213 for Dave Heberling, and 202 for then-incumbent Trustee Lynn Miller. Another 63 votes went to a candidate who had withdrawn from the race. That year, 475 residents voted by machine, with a small number of others using absentee ballots. The total number of votes cast in 2010 was 934.

According to figures from the Village Hall archives, in 2008, there were 663 total votes cast: 251 for then-Trustee Seth Gallagher (now mayor); 223 for Gordon Robertson, and 189 for then-Trustee Karen Dunn. However, in 2006, when four candidates fought over two seats, the total number of votes was 1,355.

For 2012, although Village Clerk Mary Saari ordered more machine ballots than she anticipated needing, strong interest in the race meant that the village still ran short -– at the 11th hour. With the poll-hour closing of 9 p.m. five minutes away, it seemed there had been just enough machine ballots to supply all voters. Then, at about 8:58 p.m., a couple arrived to vote. Since there were no more regular ballots, and so, following established electoral rules, Saari and her colleagues at the poll station gave them “emergency” ballots, similar to absentee ballots. The pair duly cast their votes. “In truth, it is very hard to know” exactly how many machine ballots will be needed, Saari said the day after the election. Yet, the possibility of using emergency ballots means no one is denied a chance to vote, she added.

Had all of this year’s 623 voters exercised the option to vote for two trustee candidates, the total number of votes would have been 1,246 –- not 995. The results indicate that some voters decided to “bullet” or “target” vote, picking only one candidate. Initially, avid Francisco supporters seemed inclined to support Rolston as well. Ultimately, though, Election Day off-the-record comments suggest many voted for Francisco alone. While hesitant to back Hustis (seen in some quarters as casting puzzling votes as a trustee and doing little while on the board, forcing others to bear a heavier load), they also expressed misgivings about Rolston, described as too blustery and opinionated, and, some feared, tilted toward the developer’s concerns in the controversial Butterfield property project.  Rolston often attends Village Board meetings and speaks out bluntly.
Philipstown.info file photo


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7 thoughts on “Keen Interest in Trustee Race Brings High Turnout

  1. “While hesitant to back Hustis (seen in some quarters as casting puzzling votes as a trustee and doing little while on the board, forcing others to bear a heavier load.”

    Obviously, Hustis received the most votes in this election, so it appears to me that 410 voters have faith in him and felt that he did an excellent job as a trustee and will continue to do so.

  2. “(seen in some quarters as casting puzzling votes as a trustee and doing little while on the board, forcing others to bear a heavier load)”

    With a comment like that, is this an opinion piece by Liz Armstrong, or a reporting of facts?

  3. “…forcing others to bear a heavier load”

    What load of trash this is. Since when does journalism pass a trash talk from so called unbiased reporting? Leave the analysis to the analysts.

    Your attempt to pass off street talk must only have been amongst those you support. Trustee Hustis did get the most votes. There is a truth. Let’s postulate that Trustee Hustis not only picked up votes from his supporters, but one would also surmise that he picked up votes from the Village Working Group supporters who are tired of being lied to.

    Rumor is they are undergoing a reality check of their own.

    Just report the truth if you can? There is only one load here!!

    “by forcing others to bear the load”…

    Do you mean to force others to think?

    Do you mean that there is more than one voice on the throne?

    Do you mean that more than one trustee will now be forced to actually make a decision?

    Do you mean that Trustee Hustis who does think for himself is a problem for Seth?

    My hope is that incoming Trustee Matt Francisco stands by his campaign promises and delivers an independent vote and not one salted down by Sethian Rhetoric.

    He appears to be very a very capable person.

  4. Another Liz Armstrong opinion piece. I agree with Mike Bowman on this. Will she ever write a column with facts and not opinions?

  5. Is this un baised reporting I dont think so. You as a reader decide – facts or opinion? “While hesitant to back Hustis (seen in some quarters as casting puzzling votes as a trustee and doing little while on the board, forcing others to bear a heavier load), they also expressed misgivings about Rolston, described as too blustery and opinionated, and, some feared, tilted toward the developer’s concerns in the controversial Butterfield property project. Rolston often attends Village Board meetings and speaks out bluntly”.

  6. “Hustis (seen in some quarters as casting puzzling votes as a trustee and doing little while on the board, forcing others to bear a heavier load)”

    Using the numbers provided in the above article, I calculate that Mr. Hustis garnered 65.8% of the votes. That is a %66% approval rating. Seems to me that “some quarters” must be a pretty small percentage of the Village of Cold Spring voters!

  7. The numbers speak for themselves! Two times, Mr. Hustis has run for trustee and two times he has garnered the most votes! Opinions are a dime a dozen, the majority has spoken loud and clear. Remember one thing, there was no mud slinging throughout the campaign period, all three candidates presented themselves based on their own accomplishments, why the need for mud slinging once the election is over? What can you possibly gain by intimating that others had to bear an unfair load because of Mr. Hustis? Exactly what is your hidden agenda? This site should be a place to report actual facts, not pure fantasy!