June 13, 2013

Voters approve wave of change

Six councilors are ousted and a seventh keeps his seat as town residents seek to put months of turmoil in the past.

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Residents make their way to the voting booths Tuesday at Old Orchard Beach High School, passing signs about councilor voting and explaining what a recall means. The signs were created by Channing Reeves, who lives in town.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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The margin of votes to recall the four majority councilors was wider, ranging from 529 to recall Mailhot to 637 to oust MacDonald.   

The total number of ballots cast in Tuesday’s election was not immediately available, but Town Clerk Kim McLaughlin said the turnout was among the largest she’s seen for a June election in Old Orchard Beach.   

On Tuesday, at least three police officers were present at the polls, a larger presence than normal because of the heightened tension around the election. “I’ve never seen this type of threatening. The animosity is just extreme,” Bolduc said Tuesday as she greeted voters outside the high school gym.   

After results were posted, Bolduc said she was “stunned” to learn six councilors were recalled.    “(I’m) truly stunned that the voters would vote the way they did based on all the information that is out about the former town manager and the financial mismanagement (in town hall),” she said.   

Mailhot said she also was surprised by Tuesday’s vote, but that she has no regrets about the votes she made while serving on the council.   

Dayton, who denied allegations that she used a racial slur at a petition drive leading up to the recall vote, said it is “unfortunate we’re in this place as a town.”   

“It is unfortunate the way it happened, but the message that people need to pay attention to what’s happening in town government is loud and clear,” she said.   

Dayton, who said she was overwhelmed by the support from residents in recent weeks, said she feels positive about the election, despite her removal from office.   

“I think this is a strong message: People do not want to see business as usual,” she said. “This is the beginning of a whole new world for Old Orchard Beach.”   

Bolduc was recalled by a vote of 1,367-763; Coleman was recalled by a vote of 1,073-1,062; Dayton was recalled by a vote of 1,115-1,027; Furtado was recalled by a vote of 1,353-767; MacDonald was recalled by a vote of 1,385-748; and Mail-hot was recalled by a vote of 1,330-801. Quinn kept his seat with a vote of 814-1,315.   

Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at: ggraham@mainetoday.com

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