Manchester voters were asked to weigh in on three ballot questions in Tuesday’s municipal elections. In voting ‘yes’ on all three questions, city voters approved change in Manchester, allowing sports book retail locations to potentially set up shop, giving aldermen the power to change ward boundaries and adding four students to the school board as non-voting members.
QUESTION 1: Shall the City of Manchester approve the amendment of the city charter?
Voters repealed a section of the city charter delineating the boundaries of Manchester’s 12 wards, and amended the city charter to give the ward-drawing power to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
Nothing will change right away. The amended city charter leaves the existing ward boundaries in place until the aldermen vote to change them, but they are no longer fixed in the city charter.
The new language states that new wards should have roughly equal populations. Any future redistricting will aim to make the population of each ward roughly equal: each ward alderman will represent the same number of people, so all residents will have equal representation in city government.
QUESTION 2: Shall the City of Manchester allow the operation of sports book retail locations within the City of Manchester?
Voters will allow sports betting locations in the Queen City, where gamblers can make bets on sports events.
With the vote, Manchester is not guaranteed a sports betting location. But businesses here can apply for one of the 10 spaces allowed under the state law that legalized sports gambling earlier this year.
Manchester’s vote authorizes the New Hampshire Lottery Commission to pick an “agent” to operate sports book locations in Manchester. The agent would have to follow local zoning, permitting and licensing ordinances in order to operate within the city.
Eight other cities also voted Tuesday on sports book locations.
Berlin, Claremont, Laconia and Somersworth voters approved sports book locations in their cities.
Concord, Nashua and Rochester voted against sports book locations.
The city of Dover had not yet reported election results at press time.
QUESTION 3: Are you in favor of a student from each high school having a seat on the school committee as a non-voting member?
Voters liked the idea of giving high school students a voice on the school board, but not a vote. City voters approved a resolution to add a non-voting seat to the school board for students from each of Manchester’s four high schools.
Mayor Joyce Craig and the Board of Aldermen sent the measure to voters for their consideration. Though voters approved the question, it is a non-binding resolution.