Islanders head to the polls

The Edgartown election had a smiling pooch accompanying a voter on Thursday. —Collette Jordan

Voters in Oak Bluffs, Edgartown and West Tisbury go to the polls today to elect new town leaders and to approve a number of ballot requests.

Oak Bluffs

Oak Bluffs’ polls are open from 10 am to 7 pm. The town election is being held at Oak Bluffs Public Library. View the sample ballot here

The only contested race in Oak Bluffs is for two seats on the town’s select board. Incumbent and current chair Emma Green-Beach will be defending her spot against candidates Kris Chvatal, Mark Leonard, and William Cleary. The four candidates have previously told the Times their positions on several issues, such as climate change and major projects, and have spoken with voters during a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of Martha’s Vineyard, which can be viewed here.

Oak Bluffs voters will also be determining whether to allow Proposition 2 ½ overrides for several big expenses, such as $1.6 million to replace a boiler at Oak Bluffs School and $1 million toward replacing an ambulance and an Oak Bluffs Fire Department attack pumper. Another one includes $1.6 million for upgrades to Oak Bluffs’ wastewater treatment facility, a part of the town’s long-term comprehensive wastewater management plan aimed at reducing nitrogen in its watersheds. 

The most expensive among the overrides is a $4.8 million request to repaire the Oak Bluffs Harbor jetties. During town meeting, Oak Bluffs harbormaster Emily deBettencourt urged voters to approved the project, citing public safety and environmental concerns. 

Additionally, voters will choose whether the town switches Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, a measure that was greatly supported by voters during the annual town meeting. 


Edgartown’s polls are open from 10 am to 7 pm at Edgartown Town Hall. View a sample ballot here

There is one contested race in Edgartown: the town’s park commissioner. Incumbent R. Andrew Kelly is up against challenger Michael D. Magaraci.

One question asks voters to borrow $1.55 million dollars to purchase the former M.V. Land Bank headquarters. The town has looked at using the property potentially to house employees.

Voters will also be asked if the town can borrow additional funding for sewer upgrades. 

West Tisbury

West Tisbury’s polls are open from 7 am to 8 pm at the Public Safety Building on State Road. View the sample ballot here

Voters in West Tisbury will have a couple of funding requests on their ballot, as well as two questions relating to the turf-field project.

For funding requests, the town is hoping to pay to upgrade the library’s heating and cooling system, which saw an unexpected price increase. Voters at town meeting last year approved $1.2 million for the replacement project before the cost estimate more than doubled to $2.5 million. 

Voters at town meeting on Tuesday approved the additional funding for the project, but they’ll also need to approve an override at the polls today for the town to be able to raise the additional funding. 

Librarians and town officials at Tuesday’s town meeting say the upgrades are badly needed. The current HVAC system is currently held together by “duct tape and bubble game,” town administrator Jennifer Rand said on the town meeting floor. “We have to do something.”

As for the turf field, voters will be asked whether they support a grass or artificial turf field at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. The vote is nonbinding and will instead inform the town’s select board where votes stand, akin to a poll. 

The questions were placed on the ballot at the height of the debate at the beginning of the year on whether the field should be artificial or grass; the debate has since cooled off with the MVRHS school committee deciding to pull back plans for the time being.