BROOKLINE, MA — Select Board candidate Eric Hyett conceded his election live on Brookline Interactive Group Tuesday night.
"This was a punishing campaign cycle," Hyett said, adding he was glad to run "Congrats, Heather for dominating this, that's an amazing outcome, and congrats John, it was a close, hard fought race. You two have been formidable, formidable opponents and have taught me a lot."
The election was originally scheduled for May was pushed back to June 9 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Officials had encouraged as many people to take advantage of early voting, and a good amount did that, according to the clerk's office.
By the end of the day, some 6,815 voters cast ballots. There are 38,910 registered voters in Brookline. The turnout was about 17.5 percent, according to the town. About 5,000 were able to vote early, according to the town clerk's office.
Three candidates were running for two seats on the Select Board, and several precincts had contested races for Town Meeting members.
Early returns collected by volunteers for State Rep. Tommy Vitolo and released on his show on BIG, indicated less than an hour after polls closed that Heather Hamilton held a solid lead and John VanScoyoc came in just ahead of Hyett, winning the two available seats on the Select Board. By 9:45 p.m. the town's unofficial election results confirmed this.
"Here's to local democracy, here's to Brookline," VanScoyoc said.
Hamilton also thanked both Hyett and VanScoyoc and said she believed Brookline benefit from a contested race.
Brookline Unofficial Results:
Select Board (2 Seats)
- Heather Hamilton (incumbent) 5,070
- John VanScoyoc 3, 526
- Early results show Eric Hyett did not win. 3,258
Town Meeting Members races in precincts 1, 3,4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 13 and 14 were contested.
Election Results Show On Brookline Interactive:
Vitolo began broadcasting the early unofficial returns at 8:30 p.m.
Vitolo, who has been hosting a show on Brookline Interactive Group's community access TV station, said he decided to use his show to broadcast the results when he realized that none of the candidates were hosting the traditional after-parties to celebrate.
"Historically we do have these house parties afterwards and it allows the candidates the volunteers and the voters to pivot from the election, to governing. That pivot is really important," Vitolo told Patch. "I thought 'why don't I have an event?'" Vitolo said. "It's not a party for supporters, it's a party for everyone."
Vitolo said he got the idea Friday, reached out to some volunteers to go to the voting precincts at the close of the polls to get individual tallies of how those precincts did and call them in, as happens during a normal election night.
The results aren't official until the clerk's office certifies them, but it can give candidates an early look. The clerk's office expects to post its own unofficial tally around 9:30 p.m., according to the office. The official results, which will include multiple counts and any absentee ballots will be posted later.
Vitolo said his Zoom-style Live Election Results show will have a number of guests, including all three candidates for Select Board, those running uncontested for School Committee, the chair of the Trustees of the Public Library and the chair of the Advisory Board among others.
Vitolo will also use the hour and a half show to touch on the state law about virtual meetings, phase 2 of the reopening and voting changes that the house has recently passed and are on their way to Senate.
Congressman Joe Kennedy made a special appearance on Vitolo's show, thanking the candidates for running. Sen. Ed Markey also popped on to give some words of wisdom, calling Brookline the "heart beat of democracy."
"When you google participatory democracy, Brookline comes up," he said. "That's the essence democracy, it is participatory democracy at its best."
Patch reporter Jenna Fisher can be reached at Jenna.Fisher@patch.com or by calling 617-942-0474. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram (@ReporterJenna).Have a press release you'd like posted on the Patch? Here's how to post a press release, opinion piece.