1947 City Council Election

Another in an occasional series of posts about past Lowell city elections.

1947 City Council Election

November 11, 1947 – Tuesday – “Six incumbents returned to city council. They are joined by two school committee members and a former mayor.”


  • Former Mayor James J Bruin – 3633
  • Councilor Leo A Roy – 3633
  • Councilor Woodbury F. Howard – 3633
  • Councilor Vincent Hockmeyer – 3633
  • Councilor William C Geary – 3633
  • Councilor Joseph J Sweeney – 3633
  • School Committee member John Janas – 3542
  • School Committee member George A Ayotte – 3204
  • Councilor Bart Callery – 3015

Incumbents Francis P McMahon and J Elzear Dionne were defeated. McMahon was very ill during the campaign. Dionne was edged out by fellow Franco Republican Ayotte. Incumbent J Russell Scott did not seek reelection. The new council is 5 to 4 Republican (Roy, Howard, Hockmeyer, Janas and Ayotte; Dems are Bruin, Geary, Sweeney and Callery).

Under the Proportional Representation method of voting in place in Lowell from 1943 to 1957 (and commonly called today “Ranked Choice Voting”), election officials used a formula that considered the number of votes cast and the number of seats to be filled to come up with a “quota” number which is the number of ballots needed by a candidate to be deemed “elected.” As is evident from the above results, the “quota” in 1947 was 3633 votes. As soon as a candidate reached that number of votes, he (they are all men at this point) was elected. Any votes he received above that number were redistributed to whichever candidate each voter had marked number 2. 

Once the excess ballots were distributed, the candidate at the bottom (the one with the least number of ballots on which he was ranked number 1) and that candidate’s ballots were redistributed to the candidates deemed number 2 by each voter. 

That process continued until there were only nine candidates left. (That’s why the seventh, eighth and ninth finishers above all have fewer than 3633 votes). 

Here are the last three “counts” of the redistributed ballots:

30th count eliminated Clement

31st count eliminated Ryan

32nd count eliminated Eliades


Election of Mayor

January 5, 1948 – Monday – “George A. Ayotte elected Mayor on the 15th ballot. Battle now looms over City Manager.”  

Voting for Ayotte were Vincent Hockmeyer, Woodbury F. Howard, Leo A. Roy, Bartholomew J. Callery and himself. Councilor Joseph J. Sweeney had received four votes and several earlier ballots. 

Councilors sworn in:

  • George A Ayotte
  • James J Bruin
  • Bartholomew J Callery Jr
  • William C Geary
  • Vincent Hockmeyer
  • Woodbury F Howard
  • John Janas
  • Leo A Roy
  • Joseph J Sweeney

School Committee 

  • Henry Beaudry
  • Roger S Hoar
  • Cornelius F Kiernan
  • James J Markham
  • John P McDonough
  • John J White

January 6, 1948 – Tuesday – “Flannery Re-Elected Manager at stormy council meeting. Gets votes of Ayotte, Geary, Howard, Roy, Hockmeyer, Janas; Bruin levels more charges.” 

Flannery received the votes of Ayotte, Geary, Howard, Roy, Hockmeyer and Janas.