Cambridge Municipal Elections

My principal purpose on this page is to make publicly available any information regarding the Cambridge Municipal Elections, both historical and analytical. The City of Cambridge is unique in that it is the only municipality in the United States to use the single-transferable vote (STV) form of proportional representation (PR) for its City Council and School Committee elections, and it is done so for over 60 years. The City of New York used the system for its local school board elections until very recently when, I am told, the local school boards were abolished. (The New York State legislature had previously attempted to eliminate the PR elections in a midnight maneuver which was subsequently challenged in court.).

My hope is that other municipalities will adopt PR election methods in some form as an effective way to ensure minority representation (political, ethnic, geographic, etc.) without the need for politically driven, unsatisfactory, and contrived districting schemes. - Robert Winters

2013 Municipal Election
Official 2013 Cambridge Election Results (Nov 15 and Dec 12, 2013)

The original Final City Council results (Nov 15, 2013) had a a 14 vote margin between the 9th Place candidate (Dennis Carlone) and the 10th Place candidate (Minka vanBeuzekom) in the deciding 16th Round. The were also only 30 votes separating the 7th Place through 10th Place candidates (Craig Kelley, Nadeem Mazen, Dennis Carlone, Minka vanBeuzekom. This led to a petition for a recount by Minka vanBeuzekom which took 9 days starting on Mon, Dec 2 and finishing on Thurs, Dec 12, 2013.

In the Recount, neither the winners nor the quota (1775) nor the order of election changed, though the margins increased to 20 votes between 9th and 10th Place and 48 votes separating the 7th Place through 10th Place candidates in the deciding (17th) round. One minor candidate (Ron Peden) had in excess of 50 #1 votes in the Recount which added an additional transfer round.

City Council (in order of election): Leland Cheung, David Maher, Denise Simmons, Tim Toomey, Dennis Benzan, Marc McGovern, Craig Kelley, Dennis Carlone, Nadeem Mazen. [Detailed Report (original computer tally)]
Incumbents defeated: Ken Reeves, Minka vanBeuzekom

School Committee (in order of election): Patty Nolan, Fred Fantini, Richard Harding, Kathleen Kelly, Fran Cronin, and Mervan Osborne. [Detailed Report]
Incumbents defeated: None

Final 2013 City Council Election Results - Original and Recount (PDF)

Final 2013 School Committee Election Results (PDF)

City Council #1 Vote Distribution by Ward/Precinct
Original, Recount, and Differences
(PDF)

School Committee #1 Vote Distribution by Ward/Precinct (PDF)

City Council Candidates - #2 Vote Distribution (PDF)

School Committee Candidates - #2 Vote Distribution (PDF)


Unofficial 2013 Cambridge Election Results (Nov 6, 2013)

The gap narrowed to just 20 votes separating the 7th through 10th place candidates (Kelley, Carlone, Mazen, vanBeuzekom) with only 6 votes separating the 9th place candidate (Nadeem Mazen) and the 10th place candidate (Minka vanBeuzekom) in the decisive 16th Count. There will be one last official count on Fri, Nov 15 that will include any overseas absentee ballots and provisional ballots. In some recent elections, due to the method of surplus distribution, the addition of just a few extra ballots has caused swings of 20 or more votes in the tabulation.

City Council (in order of election): Leland Cheung, David Maher, Denise Simmons, Tim Toomey, Dennis Benzan, Marc McGovern, Craig Kelley, Dennis Carlone, Nadeem Mazen. [Detailed Report]
Incumbents defeated: Ken Reeves, Minka vanBeuzekom

School Committee (in order of election): Patty Nolan, Fred Fantini, Richard Harding, Kathleen Kelly, Fran Cronin, and Mervan Osborne. [Detailed Report]
Incumbents defeated: None

Unofficial Election Results - City Council and School Committee (PDF)

 

Cambridge Candidate Pages - 2013
http://vote.cambridgecivic.com


2013 City Council Campaign Receipts

Campaign Finance – 2013 Cambridge City Council candidates


Cambridge School Committee 2013 Campaign Finance Summaries


Preliminary 2013 Cambridge Election Results (Nov 5, 2013)

City Council (in order of election): Leland Cheung, David Maher, Dennis Benzan, Tim Toomey, Denise Simmons, Marc McGovern, Craig Kelley, Dennis Carlone, Nadeem Mazen. [Detailed Report]
Incumbents defeated: Ken Reeves, Minka vanBeuzekom

School Committee (in order of election): Patty Nolan, Fred Fantini, Richard Harding, Kathleen Kelly, Fran Cronin, and Mervan Osborne. [Detailed Report]
Incumbents defeated: None

The preliminary City Council election quota was 1713 with 17,128 valid ballots counted. Only Leland Cheung exceeded quota with a surplus of 604 ballots.

The preliminary School Committee election quota was 2292 with 16,040 valid ballots counted. Three candidates reached quota on the 1st Count: Patty Nolan with a huge surplus of 1502 ballots, Fred Fantini with a surplus of 493 ballots, and Richard Harding with 3 surplus ballots.

There are an additional 710 additional City Council ballots that will be inspected and included on Wednesday. Many of these may be blank ballots, but most will likely contain valid choices. In the City Council race, in the deciding round the vote totals for the 7th through 10th place candidates were: Kelley 1517, Carlone 1510, Mazen 1481, and vanBeuzekom 1466. That's only a 15 vote margin between 9th and 10th place, so it's possible that the unofficial results on Wednesday could change.

In the School Committee race, there are an additional 1,673 ballots to be inspected and counted on Wednesday. Most of these will likely be blank ballots without valid choices. However, even if there is a substantial number of valid ballots yet to be counted, the margins between candidates are such that it's essentially impossible for the results to change.


Oct 30 - The "Random Draw of Precincts" took place recently at the Cambridge Election Commission. This determines the order in which ballots from precincts throughout the city are counted in the election. Though this has a relatively minor effect on the tabulation of the ballots (because of the "Cincinnati Method" used to transfer surplus ballots), it can potentially make a difference in a very close election. Here's the ordering determined by lottery (read down the columns):

4-3
2-3
5-2
11-3
5-1
9-1
1-2
9-3
4-1
1-3
9-2
8-3
2-2
2-1
7-1
5-3
8-1
3-2A
3-3
11-2
10-2
10-1
1-1
4-2
7-3
3-2
11-1
3-1
6-3
6-2
7-2
8-2
10-3
6-1

Official candidate list for 2013 Municipal Election (PDF)

Polling Locations for the 2013 Cambridge Municipal Election

2013 Campaign Event Listings and Candidate Forums

2011 Municipal Election

Election Results (updated Nov 18, 2011): The winners for City Council were (in order of election): Leland Cheung, Tim Toomey, David Maher, Henrietta Davis, Denise Simmons, Craig Kelley, Marjorie Decker, Minka vanBeuzekom, and Kenneth Reeves.

For School Committee, the winners were (in order of election):Fred Fantini, Patty Nolan, Alice Turkel, Mervan Osborne, Richard Harding, and Marc McGovern.

Complete City Council and School Committee Official Final Results and Extras
(PDF includes Counts with transfers, Ward/Precinct #1 votes, #2 vote distribution for all candidates, and number of rankings)

Spreadsheets of City Council and School Committee Official Final Results and Extras
(Excel file includes Counts with transfers, Ward/Precinct #1 votes, #2 vote distribution for all candidates, and number of rankings)

Round-by-Round Official Final City Council Results (HTML)

Round-by-Round Official Final School Committee Results (HTML)

Official Final City Council #1 Vote Distribution by Ward/Precinct (PDF)

Official Final School Committee #1 Vote Distribution by Ward/Precinct (PDF)


2011 Candidate Pages
Photos and profiles of all the Cambridge candidates

Instant Runoff simulations for choosing a Mayor: 1997 to 2011


Election Day was Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Calendar of Cambridge Candidate Forums and Events – 2011

2011 Official Municipal Election Calendar

2011 Cambridge Candidates, Office Sought,
Nomination signatures filed and certified


2011 City Council and School Committee Candidates
Campaign Finance Reports - updated frequently

(includes reports for 2009-2010)


Oct 26, 2011 - The "Random Draw of Precincts" took place today (Oct 26) at the Cambridge Election Commission. This determines the order in which ballots from precincts throughout the city are counted in the election. Though this has a relatively minor effect on the tabulation of the ballots (because of the "Cincinnati Method" used to transfer surplus ballots), it can potentially make a difference in a very close election. Here's the ordering determined by lottery (read down the columns):

8-3
1-1
8-2
10-3
6-2
11-2
7-1
9-1
11-3
1-2
7-2
7-3
9-2
3-3
10-2
4-2
3-1
8-1
5-3
6-1
2-1
9-3
1-3
10-1
3-2
4-3
2-2
5-2
11-1
5-1
2-3
6-3
4-1
2009 Municipal Election

Nov 13, 2009 - The Final, Official Count of the Cambridge Municipal Election (including any provisional ballots and overseas absentee ballots) took place on Friday, Nov 13, 2009 at the offices of the Cambridge Election Commission (51 Inman St., 1st Floor Conference Room).
Elected to the City Council - Henrietta Davis, Denise Simmons, Tim Toomey, Craig Kelley, David Maher, Ken Reeves, Sam Seidel, Marjorie Decker, and Leland Cheung (in order of election).
Elected to the School Committee - Nancy Tauber, Richard Harding, Marc McGovern, Fred Fantini, Alice Turkel, and Patty Nolan (in order of election). [On Nov 18, 2009, Joseph Grassi filed a petition for a recount after being edged out by Patty Nolan by only 18 votes in the original election. In the recount, the margin increased to 19 votes.]


Voting by Proportional Representation (PDF derived from official City brochure)

Voting by Proportional Representation (HTML derived from official City brochure)

Voting by Proportional Representation (Flash version derived from official City brochure - click or grab corner to turn page)

Voting by Proportional Representation (rescaled Flash version derived from official City brochure - click or grab corner to turn page)

Supplemental notes on the Cambridge PR elections

An example - 2003 City Council election graphs round-by-round (PDF)


The "Random Draw of Precincts" took place at the Cambridge Election Commission on Oct 28, 2009. This determines the order in which ballots from precincts throughout the city are counted in the election. Though this has a relatively minor effect on the tabulation of the ballots (because of the "Cincinnati Method" used to transfer surplus ballots), it can potentially make a difference in a very close election. Here's the ordering determined by lottery (read down the columns):

5-2
2-3
2-2
6-1
1-1
3-3
9-1
5-3
10-1
10-3
8-1
2-1
11-3
6-3
8-3
10-2
3-1
7-1
1-2
8-2
7-2
11-1
4-1
4-2
6-2
5-1
9-3
1-3
3-2
11-2
4-3
7-3
9-2

Excel spreadsheets of Final 2009 Election Counts (revised Aug 20, 2011)
Tabs for City Council and School Committee election counts (including the School Committee recount), distribution of #1 votes by ward and precinct, #2 vote distributions for City Council, and #2 vote distributions for theSchool Committee (original count, not the recount)

Printable PDF of Final 2009 Election Counts (revised Aug 20, 2011)
Tabs for City Council and School Committee election counts (including the School Committee recount), distribution of #1 votes by ward and precinct, #2 vote distributions for City Council, and #2 vote distributions for theSchool Committee (original count, not the recount)

The Replacements - should a City Council or School Committee vacancy occur over the next two years)

Excel spreadsheets of 2009 Unofficial Final Election Counts (Nov 5, 2009) - including all auxiliary ballots but not late ballots)

Printable PDF of 2009 Unofficial Final Election Counts (Nov 5, 2009)

Excel spreadsheets of 2009 Preliminary Counts (Nov 3, 2009) - not including auxiliary ballots)

2009 Candidate Pages


Graphic Representations of the Election Counts (Nov 23, 2009)
(by Jeff O'Neill using OpenSTV:  City Council    School Committee


Campaign Finance Activity - City Council 2009

Campaign Finance Activity - School Committee 2009

Cambridge City Council and School Committee
2009 Campaign Finance Report Summaries
(PDF) - updated Nov 23, 2009

Campaign Finance Reports for Cambridge Municipal Election Candidates (2007 - March 2009) (PDF)

2007 Municipal Election

 2007 Final Official Election Results (Nov 16) - City Council and School Committee (PDF)

City Council #1 Vote Distribution by Ward/Precinct (PDF)

School Committee #1 Vote Distribution by Ward/Precinct (PDF)

 

Distribution of #2 votes behind each Cambridge City Council candidate - 2007 (PDF)

Distribution of #2 votes behind each Cambridge School Committee candidate - 2007 (PDF)

2007 Candidate Pages

2005 Municipal Election

Official Election Results - 2005 (PDF)

City Council #1 Vote Distribution by Ward/Precinct - 2005 (PDF)

School Committee #1 Vote Distribution by Ward/Precinct - 2005 (PDF)

#2 Vote Distribution:  2005 Council Election    2005 School Committee

2005 Cambridge Election Fun Facts

Instant Runoff Mayoral Election Simulation - 2005 (PDF)

2005 Replacements if vacancy arises:  City Council

2005 Cambridge Candidate Pages

Campaign Finance Reports: 2001-2005 (updated Dec 29, 2005)

2003 Municipal Election

Election 2003 (everything)

Campaign Finance Reports for 2001-2003

2002 State Election

Election 2002 (Cambridge results only)

Campaign Finance Reports for current and recent Cambridge elected officials and candidates (2001-2002)

2001 Municipal Election

Election 2001 - Election results, rankings, candidate lists, history, resources, and everything else you may (or may not) want to know about the 2001 Cambridge Municipal Election

 
1999 Municipal Election
The 1999 Ballots - Election results, rankings, candidate lists, history, resources, and everything else you may (or may not) want to know about the 1999 Cambridge Municipal Election

Campaign Finance Reports for Year 2000

Combined Receipts and Expenditures for 1999-2000

Campaign Finance Reports - 1999 (as reported Jan 2000)

1997 Municipal Election

From the 1997 ballot data..........

Distribution of City Council #2 Votes behind the #1 votes for each of the incumbent city councillors in the 1997 City Council election.

Distribution of #2 votes for the 1997 School Committee election 

 Cost of Running a Campaign in Cambridge - 1997  
(dollars per #1 Vote in 1997 election)

Additional Documents re: Cambridge Municipal Elections

The Advent of PR in Cambridge - David Goode (to appear)

The Mayors of Cambridge (1893 to present)

History of Close Elections in Cambridge (see Election 2001)

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A BOARD OF ELECTION COMMISSIONERS IN THE CITY OF CAMBRIDGE (Mass. Acts of 1921, Chapter 239)

Cambridge PR Election Archive (amended Nov 16, 2013)
These are the complete transfer reports for all of Cambridge's proportional representation elections. The results of the School Committee election of 1949 has been partially reconstructed from the Cambridge Chronicle account of Nov 24, 1949 which, unfortunately, had many errors. When known, additional information is highlighted, such as who was on the CCA slate or other slates. If you need further information or if there are any corrections or other information to report, contact me and I'll amend the data. All results derived from printed archives of Glenn Koocher and Robert Winters and from available records from the Cambridge Election Commission. The data was entered by Robert Winters (so you'll know who to blame if you find an error). - RW

Index of all Cambridge City Council and School Committee candidates: 1941 to 2013  (plain text) (PDF)- updated Nov 16, 2013
(use this to locate candidates, then use the appropriate links below)

City Council Elections - 1941 to present
1941 City Council 1943 City Council 1945 City Council 
1945 Recount
1947 City Council 1949 City Council
(amended 7/3/03)
1951 City Council 1953 City Council 1955 City Council 1957 City Council 1959 City Council
1961 City Council 1963 City Council 1965 City Council 1967 City Council 1969 City Council 
1969 Recount
1971 City Council 
1971 Recount
1973 City Council 1975 City Council 1977 City Council 1979 City Council
1981 City Council 1983 City Council 1985 City Council 1987 City Council 1989 City Council
1991 City Council 1993 City Council 
1994 Walsh vacancy
1995 City Council 1997 City Council 1999 City Council
2001 City Council 
(reformatted 3/19/06)
2003 City Council 
(reformatted 3/19/06)
2005 City Council
(modified 3/1/09 to include
Sullivan Vacancy Recount)
2007 City Council
(modified 3/1/09 to include
Murphy Vacancy Recount)
2009 City Council
2011 City Council
(added 1/30/13)
2013 City Council
Original and Recount
(modified 12/13/13)
All City Council elections 1941-2013 (amended 12/13/13)
School Committee Elections - 1941 to present
1941 School Committee 1943 School Committee 1945 School Committee 1947 School Committee
(amended 7/3/03)
1949 School Committee
(partially reconstructed,
with errors - added 7/3/03)
1951 School Committee 1953 School Committee 1955 School Committee 1957 School Committee 1959 School Committee
1961 School Committee
(original and recount)
1963 School Committee
(original and recount)
1965 School Committee
(and McMahon vacancy)
1967 School Committee 1969 School Committee
1971 School Committee 1973 School Committee 1975 School Committee 1977 School Committee 1979 School Committee
1981 School Committee 1983 School Committee 1985 School Committee
Note: Joe Maynard was elected
but died before the inauguration.
Tim Toomey was elected in the
runoff. (amended 7/3/03)
1987 School Committee 1989 School Committee
(original and recount)
1991 School Committee 1993 School Committee 1995 School Committee 1997 School Committee 1999 School Committee
2001 School Committee
(original and recount)
2003 School Committee 
(amended 12/17/05)
2005 School Committee
(added 3/19/06)
2007 School Committee
(added 8/2/08)
2009 School Committee
(original and recount
modified 8/20/11)
2011 School Committee
(added 1/30/13)
2013 School Committee
(added 11/16/13)
All School Committee elections 1941-2013 (amended 11/16/13)

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