Joel Lehman, St. Albans Messenger
ST. ALBANS TOWN — Second time’s a charm for Sam Smith.
In a special election held at Collins Perley Sports & Fitness Center on Tuesday, Smith garnered 410 votes versus David Schofield’s 275 votes for the three-year St. Albans Town Selectboard seat.
Smith will replace former selectboard chair Bernie Boudreau, who decided to step down at the end of his most recent term.
When the two candidates faced off the first time on Town Meeting Day on March 3, they tied with 474 votes each. The unofficial result had been 474 Schofield to 473 Smith, though one write-in vote for Smith to take the three-year seat knocked the result into a tie.
St. Albans Town clerk Anna Bourdon said neither Smith nor Schofield asked for a recount or wanted to concede to the other candidate.
On Tuesday, 690 people turned out to vote, about 70 percent of the 996 people who turned out to vote at the beginning of March. The town has just over 3,800 registered voters.
In reference to yesterday’s numbers, Bourdon said, “I always expect more but that’s pretty high turnout. The difference being, Town Meeting Day, you’re voting on school budgets and other articles.”
When asked about the special election results, Smith said by phone this morning, “I’m happy, I guess, that it turned out the way it did.”
He added that he thought his success the second time around was due to the difference in his and Schofield’s approach. “I think for me, the difference was Mr. Schofield continued to talk and some of those things he said hurt him more than helped him,” said Smith.
He added, “I asked the people what they wanted and what I ought to do [as a selectboard member] and I think that’s the difference. You’re there to hear the people.”
“I can congratulate Sam for winning,” said Schofield. “I hope that voters are happy with what he brings to the selectboard.”
Due to his new role as selectboard member, Smith said he planned to step back from a few of his other positions either over time or immediately.
He will, for instance, take himself off the St. Albans Town planning commission in a month after the draft of the new zoning bylaws is completed, a project years in the making. As of now, however, Smith said he didn’t want to leave when the planning commission already lost Town Planner Maren Hill, who moved on to a new position at the end of February.
“We’re now meeting once a week to get that done,” said Smith. “To meet that schedule I’m going to stay on long enough to get that done and then move on.”
Smith did say that he would immediately take himself off the Northwest Regional Planning Commission.
“There’s only so many meetings [I can attend] a month and I’d like to stay married,” said Smith. Between his town positions and the maple sugaring season – Smith said he was boiling until 1:30 this morning – he should stay pretty busy.
“By weekend we should be in full swing,” he said.