Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Election Commission executive director Tanya Ford-Crump looks over voting equipment Nov. 2 at the Citywide Senior Center. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Election commissioners completed a count of provisional and overseas absentee ballots on Friday, making official the results from the Nov. 2 city election. Those unofficially elected to the City Council and School Committee during earlier tallies didn’t change, and three ballot questions amending the city charter were approved by wide margins.

The outcome means challengers Burhan Azeem and Paul Toner will join the seven reelected incumbents on next term’s council and that first-term councillor Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler will be off, as will veteran councillor Timothy Toomey, who decided to retire rather than seek another term. Challenger Akriti Bhambi will join the five present members of the school committee, which will be chaired by the next mayor; current vice chair Manikka Bowman opted not to run again.

A webpage reporting final results, however, contained only dead links for council and committee results when election commissioners and staff left their offices Friday. A link to official ballot question results was live.

On Monday, commissioners added live links to official council and committee results, showing just incremental gains for several candidates – one, two or three additional No. 1 votes were common.

The returns mark the first updates in 80 years to Cambridge’s city charter and its “Plan E” form of government, which establishes that there will be an unelected city manager appointed by a relatively weak city council that picks a mayor from among its own ranks to chair meetings and represent the city ceremonially. With an additional 1,059 provisional and overseas absentee ballots counted in results, for a total 21,958 ballots, these were the three charter changes approved by voters, according to election commissioners:

  • Requiring city council approval of the city manager’s appointments to boards and commissions: 14,412 were in favor and 6,360 were opposed (69 percent to 31 percent)
  • Establishing a process for councillors to conduct an annual review of the city manager’s performance: 16,520 were in favor and 4,360 were opposed (79 percent to 21 percent)
  • Initiating a charter review process every 10 years, starting with next year: 15,251 were in favor and 5,305 were opposed (74 percent to 26 percent)

Percentages, which don’t count blank ballots, were unchanged from unofficial results.

The following tables reflect the vote counts made official by the Election Commission last week and posted Monday.