Long-time Worker Retires from Somerville Elections Commission
By Deanna Archetto
Boston University News Service
SOMERVILLE -This time of year is hectic for the Elections Commission in the City of Somerville, with the local and national elections just weeks away. However, one familiar face won’t be greeting visitors at the commission’s basement office in City Hall any longer.
Louise McCarthy, Somerville’s deputy election commissioner, has retired after 22 years and having worked on over 75 elections.
“Louise was our election guru,” said President of the Board of Aldermen, Thomas Taylor.
At the September 27 Board of Alderman meeting, school committee member Maureen Bastardi presented McCarthy with a citation commending her for service to the city.
McCarthy, 67, a lifelong Somerville resident, accepted the citation surrounded by her family and the mayor of Somerville, Joseph Curatone. “I am privileged to have helped make democracy work,” said McCarthy, who in retirement intends to spend more time with her family.
“Louise was involved in the process, procedures, and changes” to the election system, said Alderman at Large John Connolly. She prepared and monitored voting machines, recruited polling workers, and worked on the census.
Working for the non-partisan commission meant that no matter what candidate came to McCarthy’s window, she treated everyone exactly the same. She also helped people register to vote, filled out absentee ballots, filed reports, and answered any questions people had.
“Louise went over all of our reports with a fine-tooth comb to make sure we didn’t miss anything,” said Alderman William Roche. “And before we’d leave that window, she’d make sure that the report was complete.”
Alderman Tony Lafuente remembered receiving help from McCarthy in his pursuit of public office. “I was a nobody running against the mayor at the time,” he said. “She made me feel like it was my right to do what I was doing.”
McCarthy’s patience and professionalism stood out in Alderman Robert Trane’s memory. He recalled an incident one election year where McCarthy assisted a woman who became irate when she found out she was not a registered voter.
“That probably happens all the time for Louise, but she handled it with such integrity,” Trane added.
McCarthy stepped down this summer in order to spend more time with her husband Jim — who is a prior board of alderman president — her three children, and numerous grandchildren.
“I have eight grandkids. Their mothers are working mothers, so I want to be able to help with daycare and babysitting,” McCarthy said. “I also do a lot of knitting and crocheting.”