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Dalton Elections See High Turn Out; Select Board Incumbent Wins
By Sabrina Damms, iBerkshires Staff
01:59PM / Tuesday, May 14, 2024
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Select Board incumbent Robert Bishop was re-elected to a fourth term on Monday.

DALTON, Mass. — More than 800 residents cast their votes during Monday's town elections, resulting in Select Board incumbent Robert Bishop retaining his seat.
"I feel like it was it was a high turnout. We had a lot of mail-in ballots … I think the one contested Select Board race definitely brought people out," Town Clerk Heather Hunt said. 
"I think we saw a lot of voters that we haven't seen in a very long time, and I think a lot of them came out specifically to vote for the Select Board." 
The town sent out approximately 823 mail-in ballots and received back more than half, Hunt said. 
Bishop has served on the Select Board for three terms, and the voters agreed they want him for a fourth three-year term. 
In a previous interview with iBerkshires, Bishop emphasized the need for collaboration, obtaining project funding, and keeping taxes down while supporting town departments and employees.  
Robert Collins challenged Bishop for the seat, running a campaign focused on the need for a new voice on the board and more discussion.
Bishop received 638 votes, while Collins received 201 votes. The race also had two write-in votes, and 12 voters left the Select Board race blank. 
Although the voters overwhelmingly supported Bishop for the seat on the Select Board, Collins may still be able to serve the town in a different capacity — the Planning Board.
The Planning Board had one open seat but had no candidates running. It received a total of 62 write-in votes, with Collins receiving more than five write-in votes, thus far, and is projected to be the winner.
"That tells me that I may not have won the Select Board seat, but people liked my message or liked my ideas so they wrote me in on the planning board. I take it as a compliment that people didn't feel that I was possibly ready for the Select Board," Collins said.
"I needed to maybe learn or experience politics a little more because I was green, and I'll take the Planning Board in stride. And if I am awarded that seat, I will definitely contribute the best I can and I will take that experience and learn for the next time I run for selectman."
The town is still tallying all the write-in votes received for the vacant seats on the Planning Board, Finance Committee, library trustees, and cemetery trustees. There were 210 write-in votes in this election.
The Finance Committee received 103 write-in votes, with the projected winner, Susan Vigeant, receiving almost 70 thus far.
Many of the boards and committees didn't have a candidate for each of the open positions. The Finance Committee needed four candidates, but only three entered the race; the library trustees needed four, but only two entered the race; and the Planning Board received no candidates for its open seat. The high number of write-ins was likely mostly generated by the lack of candidates, Hunt said. 
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