ESSEX — Voter turnout in Essex for Town Meeting 2022 was the lowest the town has seen in three years.
On Tuesday, 6,164 people — about 37% of registered voters — cast a ballot, a near 10% decrease over last year's town meeting.
Town Meeting 2021, which had the selectboard's plan for merger on the ballot, saw the highest voter turnout in Essex in five years. At that time, Town Clerk Susan McNamara-Hill reported 7,515 votes cast, a 546 vote increase over 2020’s Town Meeting.
In 2022, retail cannabis, contested selectboard races and a consequential town budget might have drawn in voters.
“I think the budget is good," Village voter Tim Emory told the Reporter outside the Essex High School poll." I think we need to keep our community up, this is a great place to live. You gotta play your part to keep things up.”
Though Tuesday's turnout was low compared to most recent elections, it was significantly higher than in March 2018 and 2019, which pulled in barely more than 10%.
As it did in 2021, the Town of Essex mailed ballots several weeks ahead of the election to all active, registered voters. According to official results, the majority of voters this year and last opted to use that method of voting.