VOL Election: Small Turnout, Long Wait for Results

by Judy Silberstein

(March 20, 2008) Despite some last minute worries generated by rumors of a possible challenge from write-in votes, the three declared candidates in the Village of Larchmont election got almost all the votes cast. The top vote getter, Democrat Marlene Kolbert, received 260 votes or 90% of the maximum from a total of 290 voters who turned out. This earns her a fourth two-year term. Fellow Democrat Jim Millstein got 248 (86%), and will return for a second term as trustee, and Liz Feld, a Republican, got 251 (87%), earning a second term as mayor and a third term on the board.

The final tally was not announced until almost 10:30, ninety minutes after the polls had closed. Larchmont’s assistant attorney, Joanna Feldman, was called in for consultation to help with determining how to handle the 11 write-in votes that were cast. (Ultimately 5 were disqualified and the final 6 were noted in aggregate.)

A third generation? During the long wait for the votes to be counted, Mayor Liz (Noyer) Feld's son assumed a position once held by his grandfather, (Mayor) Maurice Noyer.

Turnout was small, as anticipated in an election with no contested seats. Only 7% of Larchmont’s 3907 registered voters appeared at the polls. That was somewhat higher than last year, when 204 or 5% of registered voters took part in a similarly uncontested election. (VOL Election: Volume Down On Voting & Partisanship.) However, in that case, the top vote getter (Trustee Anne McAndrews) received 204 votes or 100% of the maximum. Richard Ward, running for a first term on the board got 96% and Village Justice Jerry Bernstein, running for a fourth term, got 94%.

In addition to running on their own parties’ lines, the three candidates ran as a coalition ticket. This was a reprise from the 2006 race in which they defeated a Republican-endorsed slate headed by the then-incumbent mayor, Ken Bialo. While the 2006 race was hotly contested and contentious during the nominating and the election phases, this year’s event yielded no opposition at all.

The election was also the second one in which party politics has played almost no role. In brief comments following the announcement of the vote tallies, Ms. Kolbert reiterated her appreciation for the collegiality on the present board saying the last two years “have been really a pleasure.” (Mr. Millstein was traveling and did not attend the session.)

Mayor Feld apologized for a touch of immodesty and noted that getting re-elected without opposition “says something about the job” the board has been doing. She said the board had been ticking off the list it compiled during the 2006 election campaign and acknowledged that “some of what we’ve done may not have been popular." But, she said, “results tonight say we’ve done the right thing.”