, This was a really important election. The Harvard Crimson has done a good overview of it! HERE
In this election as in previous ones, the transfer votes are key! Looking at the round-by-round vote shift, it looks like there were much clearer patterns of votes transferring between candidates of the same slate than in years past. City-wide "slates" (sets of endorsements) were very important this year as in previous ones. Significantly in 2023 Sumbul Sumbul (the current Mayor) received only 3,000 votes (circa 1,000 she could transfer down); last election (in 2021) she received 4,000 votes (2,000 of which were transferred down). This year, like last year, her extra votes were key to getting other members of her "slate" elected - most notably Marc McGovern.
Here is a list of those elected. CCC candidates indicated in purple; incumbents are indicated with an (I)
CITY COUNCIL (in order of election):
SCHOOL COMMITTEE (in order of election):
What this points to more directly is the enduring power of incumbency in Cambridge elections through ranked choice voting in both the school committee and city council elections. And when two out of three of the "open seats" are filled by CCC candidates that is something to be truly celebrated!
Transfer votes clearly mattered this year as they did in past elections. SEE CHARTS BELOW.
Both Ayesha Wilson and Joan Pickett were elected in the 17th round.
Cathie Zusy lost in the 15th round; Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler was elected to council in the 15th round as well.
CCC slate voters did a particularly good job in getting our candidates elected.
Indeed this year was one for the records.: Councillors elected with more transfer votes than #1 votes:
6 in 1941 (83 candidates!)
Cassidy 1943, 59% (39)
Pickett 2023, 58% (24)
Foley 1951, 55% (27)
Pill 1943, 55%
Pill 1955, 54% (42)
Vellucci 1955, 52%
DeGuglielmo 1945, 52% (37)
Cheung 2009, 50.7% (21)
McNamara 1957, 50.1% (40)
Transfer votes in the 2023 election for City Council
A good long-time voting strategy is to decide who one would really like to see on the council (or school committee) and then vote for them in order, weaker to stronger. This year some changed that to vote for the weaker CCC candidates before the incumbents they wanted to see stay, to keep the vote focused on supporting those who would really need it. Slate voting really made a difference this year, but more important is how hard the candidates worked.
Above is a enlargement of the last 5 transfers which determined who was going to be the 9th member elected. One can see how votes transferred over to Pickett when it was needed. At that point Sobrinho-Wheeler, Simmons, and Wilson are considerably ahead, but the last 5 are bunched in a narrower range, and only 1 could be elected. Hanratty gives a strong transfer to Pickett. McGuirk transfers to the strong candidates who don’t really need the votes. Totten gives a strong boost to Al-Zubi, but not enough, because a significant number go the the folks who don’t need them. Ai-Zubi’s strong feed to Joan nails it down, but it’s already decided.
In 2019 our candidates won three Council seats: Carlone (I), Nolan and Zondervan. (We ran no School Committee Candidates).
In 2021 our candidates won two Council seats: Carlone (I) and Nolan. We ran no School Committee Candidates)
In 2023 our candidates won four seats Council seats: Nolan (I), Pickett, Toner (I), and Wilson. CCC candidates ALSO won two seats on the School Committee this year: Hudson and Rojas Villarreal (I). The fact that each year we were able to elect new comers is important since the weight of incumbency is so significant in our election system.
Our goal has been to grow our numbers of elected officials slowly over time. So far we have been able to do this. Part of the success is the impact of a full set of endorsements.
2023 City Council Election Results
Siddequi 1st count 2118 votes
Burhan A 2nd count 2118 votes
McGovern 7th count 2118 votes
Patty Nolan 9th count 2118 votes
Paul Toner 11th count 2118 votes
Jivan S-Wheeler 15th Count 2118 votes
Denise Simmons 16th Count 2118 votes
Ayesha Wilson 17th Count 2118 votes
Joan Pickett 17th Count 2010 votes
Cathie Zusy 15th count 1159 defeated
Dan Totten- 14th count 949 defeated
McGuirk - 13th count- 873
Hanratty- 12th round- 728
Brown- 10th round- 460
Federico- 8th round 375
Winters- 7th round 311
Hao Wang- 6th round 265
Carrie Pasquarello- 5th count 247
Below are the preliminary votes and the impact of their transfers on other candidates. The first two charts are for City Council; the third chart for the school committee. What this shows in part is how important it is to vote for the various candidates on CCC's larger set of endorsees, because nearly all of them played a part in electing Joan Pickett, Patty Nolan, and Paul Toner.
The second half of the City Council Election Transfer of Ballots:
Below is the Preliminary Results of the School Committee Election.
The key issue at play this year's City Council election cycle was better planning around bicycle lanes and a more holistic approach to transit. For this issue, CCC's candidates had major electoral success in the election of Joan Pickett. In the School Committee election, one of the key election issues was the return of algebra. In both these cases, your votes, and the successes of other important candidates (even those who did not win this election cycle) played a vital role.
This year not only were we able to replace two of the three open seats with CCC candidates (Joan Pickett Ayesha Wilson) and to provide a broader vision of transit for our streets. This election also helped move the needle toward less toxicity on Council thanks to these two Council decisions but also the election of Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler instead of Dan Totten.
With regard to the School Committee election, not only do our two candidate help bring closer attention to fully bringing back algebra to 8th grade, but also in gaining greater transparency and smarter policies around school schedules and parent involvement. In addition the School Committee often has been a key springboard for candidates seeking positions on City Council, as for example with Marc McGovern, Patty Nolan, and this year, Ayesha Wilson.
Note: Cambridge has relatively high voter turnout compared to other cities in Massachusetts:
The number of registered voters by precinct as of August 2023: