Judge stands by requirement of 50% turnout in Bedford

MANCHESTER — Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge James J. Barry says he won’t reconsider his decision requiring a 50 percent turnout for a valid Bedford school district special election.

Bedford held a special school district vote on June 1 on a 20-year tuition contract with Manchester. The election was held by petition of Bedford residents.

Judge Barry had ruled shortly before the election that half of the town’s 13,600 registered voters would have to turn out for the election to be valid. The turnout was 4,951 and the vote was ruled invalid.

On Thursday, Barry heard arguments for reconsideration presented by a lawyer for the Bedford Citizens for a Sound Economy. The group wants Bedford to keep sending high school students to Manchester and opposes construction of a Bedford high school.

The Bedford Citizens wanted another hearing in September on which state laws apply to the quorum question.

In the meantime, the B-CSE has appealed Barry’s ruling to the state Supreme Court. That appeal would have been halted if Barry allowed a new hearing on the 50 percent vote requirement.

Barry’s new ruling says the Bedford Citizens “advanced no new theory nor presented anything that was not considered or decided at the hearing held on May 28.”

“Additionally,” Barry wrote, “the motion for reconsideration is untimely and is denied.”

Barry said his May 28 ruling is his final order