Amherst residents brave storm to cast votes

AMHERST – After Town Moderator Steve Coughlan made the decision to hold elections on Tuesday, March 14, despite a severe snowstorm, about 15 percent of Amherst’s registered voters went to the polls.

Out of a total of about 9,000 registered voters, 1,339 people voted in Amherst, Town Clerk Nancy Demers said.

Voting took place for the town, the Amherst School District and the Souhegan Cooperative School District.

A coin toss decided the race for the Amherst School Board – and then it didn’t.

The two candidates for the three-year post, Samuel Giarrusso and John Glover, tied at 478 votes each, and following state election law, town officials met at Town Hall on Wednesday, March 15, with the two candidates. The school district clerk flipped a coin. Giarrusso called heads, and the result was tails, so Glover was declared the winner.

After congratulating Glover, Giarrusso filed the paperwork for a recount.

Giarrusso is a retired Amherst teacher, and Glover is a member of the town Ways & Means Committee. There were five people running for two three-year seats, and Terri Behm, Amherst School District Ways & Means Committee member, won the other seat with 698 votes.

Giarrusso also ran for School District moderator and lost to incumbent Nate Jensen 389-708.

On the Amherst town side, all warrant articles easily passed, including the $13.3 million operating budget, a police union contract, additions to six capital reserve funds and an increase in the elderly, blind and disabled property tax exemption.

Amherst School District voters also approved a $25.4 million budget.

For town officials, there were few contested races. Incumbent library trustees Kimberly Ayers and Nancy Head were re-elected, as were incumbents James Ramsay and Charles Vars to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.