Lowell’s New Election System Starts This Year

Lowell, MA — Lowell election system has changed this year as the result of a Voting Rights lawsuit that was brought by a group of Cambodian and Hispanic community members in 2017 “Hout et al vs City of Lowell”. Since 1943, Lowell adopted Plan E governance, the election has been all city-wide at large seats, with the top 9 ticket holders getting seats as councillors. With this system, many candidates with strong ties and family name recognition received the most votes and the city was run this way for a very long time. Some argued it has given stability, without dividing different neighborhood interests, which has allowed Lowell to progress as a whole. While this maybe all true, in the 2015 election, there were 5 minority candidates and none were elected, including one term elected councilor Vesna Nuon who ran unsuccessfully the following two election cycles. Serious questions were raised that the system was diluting the voices of the minority voters and voters in general in the neighborhoods and at that time, 5 out of 9 city councilors resided in one single neighborhood, that of Belvidere.

New Lowell Map for City Council by Districts

The lawsuits dragged on for a few years, in and out of courts, private and public meetings, gathering pubic opinions throughout the city. Both parties reached a settlement – Lowell being divided into 8 Districts and 3 at large seats. For the school committee, which formerly had 6 city-wide seats will now have 4 districts and 2 at large seats. This new election system is being implemented this fall. The list of the candidates for each district is listed below. There will be a primary election on Tuesday, September 21st for districts which has more than three candidates running for the same post. The primary election will take place in District 2, District 3, District 4, and District 7 for city council. There will be no primary election for the school committee until the general election on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021. Last day to register to vote in the primary is September 1st, 2021 at 8pm.

District 1: Pawtucketville
Rodney Elliott
Daniel Rourke

District 2: Centralville
Martin Hogan, Corey Robinson, Robert Gignac

District 3: Belvidere
David Conway, William Samaras, John Leahy

District 4: Back Central
Ryan Rourke, Paul Belley, Wayne Jenness

District 5: Sacret Heart/South Lowell
Kimberly Scott, Tooch Van

District 6: Lower Highland
Sokhary Chau, Justin Ford.

District 7: Acre
David Ouellette, Paul Yem, Kamara Kay, Patricia StrattonDistrict 8: Highlands
Erik Gitschier, Ty Chum

At Large: Debra Belanger, Rita Mercier, Robert Hoey, Vesna Noun, John Drinkwater, Bobby Tugbiyele.

New Lowell Map for School Committee by Districts

School Committee
District 1
Stacy Thompson, Ben Opara

District 2
Eileen Delrossi, Hilary Clark

District 3
Andre Descoteaux, Susie Chhoun

District 4
Dominik Lay, Cheth Khim

Michael Dillon, Jr. Jim Peters, Connie Martin, Jacqueline Doherty.

Poll locations for primary election are listed below:

District 2
• Robinson School, 110 June Street, Lowell, MA

District 3
• Reilly School, 115 Douglas Road, Lowell, MA

District 4
• Lowell High School, 50 Father Morissette Blvd., Lowell MA (Wards/Precincts: 2-1, 2-2, 2-3*, 5-1*, 5-2*, 5-3*)
• Rogers School Gymnasium, 43 Highland Street, Lowell, MA (Wards/Precincts: 4-3*, 10-2*, 10-3*)

District 7
• Lowell Senior Center, 276 Broadway Street, Lowell, MA.