Election Day 2013 is history. Six western Massachusetts communities chose mayors. Two incumbent mayors lost (Chicopee and West Springfield). Three mayors were re-elected (Holyoke, North Adams and Westfield) and one incumbent retired making way for a new mayor (Easthampton). Republicans held onto a State Senate seat in a special election in a district Democrats thought they might take back after almost two decades.

And then there’s Palmer. Palmer residents appear to have defeated Mohegan Sun’s casino bid there by just 93 votes. Casino proponents are moving for a recount amidst reports of voting problems in at least one precinct. It could take awhile to sort that one out — and don’t be surprised if the Palmer result ends up with a court fight.

It was Massachusetts’ own “Tip” O’Neill who said “All politics is local”. When you go into the voting booth you’re generally not thinking about great global issues and lofty principals. You are thinking about how the result impacts you and yours. Which candidate is more likely to raise — or lower –my  taxes? Will this initiative bring some good jobs to town so maybe my kids don’t have to move away to find work? Which candidate just seems to be a better representative of my town? All those factors and more were at play in determining yesterday’s western Mass. balloting.

I think Chicopee and West Springfield residents wanted mayors who were perhaps a little less “contentious” than the current incumbents, if that’s the right word. In “West Side”, in particular, Mayor Greg Neffinger lost some key supporters due to his endorsement of the failed Casino bid there. Still, in Chicopee and West Springfield, voters picked a former Mayor and a former Town Council President respectively — so th results can hardly be seen as radical change.

In Holyoke, North Adams and Westfield, incumbents were returned while  Easthampton elected the top aide to the retiring mayor…which is pretty much the same as re-electing the incumbent — or at least endorsing the approach and policies of the current administration.

The Second Hampden-Hampshire Senate seat went to veteran Republican State Representative Don Humason of Westfield over Democrat  Holyoke City Councilor David Bartley, son of the legendary State House Speaker and Holyoke Community College President of the same name. A good number of Independents and Democrats voted Republican in this one to give Humason his 1,630 vote margin out of more than 34 thousand votes cast.

Generally, turnout was low and most voters who bothered to come out opted for the status quo — or something pretty close to it. That assessment will only be  strengthened if the Palmer Casino rejection vote holds up.

Pols and pundits have long contended that unless bad weather is a factor — low turnout means voters aren’t upset and don’t have a “throw the bums out” mentality. I worry that more and more today, low turnout may mean people are just giving up on the political process, feeling that their vote doesn’t matter and can’t impact anything.  Take a look at yesterday’s results — especially that 93 vote margin on the Palmer casino– and you’ve got to see that voting and getting involved in your community counts!