A collection of Election Day news and notes from GateHouse New England publications.
Hanover vote shatters earlier turnout record
Less than two months after Hanover voters turned out in droves to back a new high school building project, an even higher number hit the polls to cast ballots in today’s presidential election.
With 5,301 votes cast as of 3 p.m., Hanover residents have already cast more ballots than they did in September, when they approved a Proposition 21/2 debt exclusion override. Roughly 48 percent of the town’s registered voters participated in that election, approving the measure by a one-sided 3,488 to 925 margin.
A large number of people casting ballots at the current Hanover High School on Tuesday afternoon did so with their children in tow, and as the school’s football team practiced a few hundred yards from the polling place.
-- Sue Scheible/www.patriotledger.com
Huge turnout in Norton
More than 4,000 voters have cast ballots as of noon today in Norton.
“I think it’s going to break records everywhere,” Town Clerk Diane Casagni said.
One voter said a normally 10-minute trip to the polls at the Henri A. Yelle Elementary School took 40 minutes.
Cars were backed up onto the road down Rte. 123 to Oak Street.
Voting heavy in Braintree, few problems reported
The only line at the Precinct One poll at the Marge Crispin Center on Pond Street in Braintree around 1:30 p.m. today was at the ballot box when it jammed. Poll warden Gail Fraser had to unlock the box and remove a stack of ballots, under the watchful eye of a Braintree police officer, while several voters waited to insert their ballots.
Poll workers said business had been steady all day. Over nine hundred residents had already voted with six hours still to go - more than the total in this precinct from the first mayoral election in town one year ago.
-- Linda Chapman/www.patriotledger.com
Computer glitch causes problem at polls
Voters rights group volunteers reported 169 requests for help from Massachusetts residents this morning.
A statewide computer problem resulted in incomplete registration rolls at several Middlesex locations, including Cambridge, according to Election Protection, a nonpartisan voter protection coalition led by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Officials are unsure what caused the problem, but it was corrected by 11 a.m.
"According to several accounts, complete lists were not provided to election officials and numerous residents, and registered voters, are being told to vote via provisional ballots," a press release from Election Protection stated.
The group has received calls about long waits at Massachusetts polling sites, but none longer than 30 minutes have been reported.
Election Protection is monitoring voter requests for assistance and reports of problems at the polls through its hotline, 1-866-OUR-VOTE; Web site, www.866OurVote.org; and tens of thousands of volunteers across the country.
Anyone with questions about voting rights may call the hotline for more information and help with verifying registration status.
-- Julia Spitz/www.metrowestdailynews.com
Carnival atmosphere in Marshfield
A carnival atmosphere prevailed in and around Furnace Brook Middle School, with voters, their families and campaigners contributing to an action-packed day at the polls.
Marshfield town clerk Patti Picco said that 7,300 residents had voted as of 1pm this afternoon, as more and more trickled in. Poll workers called the participation tremendous, saying they’d never seen this kind of turnout.
With many parents toting their children to the polls, several youth and booster groups had set up shop outside the voting booths, selling baked goods and adding to the festive atmosphere.
-- Sue Scheible/www.patriotledger.com
Voting smooth and steady at Stoughton polls
No matter their choice, Stoughton voters were enthusiastic about voting in the Presidential Election this morning, and many of them turned out early to cast their ballot.
“I think the country needs a change, and I’m excited about the turnout. It makes a statement,” said Linda Werman.
I’m not a huge political person, but I paid more attention to things because it’s an historical election. You’re going to have an African American or a woman (vice president) … it made it more exciting,” said Susan Collins.
While expecting longer lines at the polls, Edward Mayo said he was surprised how quick the voting process was, but he wasn’t happy with what he thinks will be the outcome of the election.
“I like McCain, but I’m fearful,” he said. “I don’t like the other one.”
Precinct 5 Warden Patty Martini said voters lined up outside the Gibbons School as early as 6: 15 a. m. to cast ballots. She said despite the heavy turnout, people didn’t have to wait in line more than a few minutes.
Marilyn Needleman, a warden for Precinct 7, called the turnout “phenomenal” at the West School – with higher numbers voting than the last presidential election.
-- Candace Hall/www.wickedlocalstoughton.com.
Voters get free handwarmers while waiting in line
Volunteers for a statewide campaign to raise energy awareness were giving out handwarmers to voters at the Dilboy Post in Somerville.
The Massachusetts Association for Community Action and Low-Income Energy Affordability Network along with several of the state’s utility companies have joined together to form the initiative called Energy Bucks.
Energy Bucks is a campaign is to help people who can’t afford to stay warm this winter.
“Energy Bucks is raising awareness for fuel assistance, utility discount, and energy efficiency services available to qualifying residents,” said Hanah Smith, a volunteer with Energy Bucks.
-- Jeffrey Grover/www.wickedlocalsomerville.com
Steady stream in Framingham and Ashland
Voters turned up at a steady clip this morning at polls in Framingham and Ashland.
While Framingham resident Jennifer Ryan said the wait at Keefe Technical High School was about the same as for most any election at about 9:45 a.m., she said her husband reported a large crowd when the polls opened.
Although Ann Brennan voted only a few minutes after Ryan, Brennan said the mid-morning turnout was unusual.
"We're usually alone at the primaries,'' said Brennan, who went to the polls with her husband, Jerry Brennan. "We never saw so many people before.''
At the Hemenway School in Framingham, hundreds of people showed up early.
"Three hundred people voted in the first hour," said Precinct One Warden Wayne Harris, "which represents 11.8 percent of the vote." Voters were lined up outside the door at the Hemenway School voting place this morning.
-- Art Illman/www.metrowestdailynews.com
Needham voters began lining up at 6:30 a.m.
Even a half hour before the polls opened for precincts I and J at the Mitchell School, there was a line of voters.
“It’s been crazy,” said Precinct I Warden Edie Garrison. “The line started at 6:30 and it hasn’t stopped….It’s been very, very steady.”
After the polls opened at 7 a.m., 249 people voted in Precinct I in the first hour, Garrison said. By 10:35 a.m., 735 people voted in Precinct I. There were also piles of absentee ballots on Garrison’s desk.
“We haven’t seen a turnout like this,” Garrison said. “The last election, it was next to nothing compared to this.”
Over at the Broadmeadow School, the polling location for precincts G and H, it was also busy. By 10:50 a.m., 737 people voted in Precinct H and 702 voted in Precinct G. And despite some glitches with the counting machine early in the day, things have gone smoothly after voting officials “got things going.”
“Hectic,” said Precinct H Warden Charlie Taylor, describing the day and noting only 300 people voted in his precinct in the last election. “All day long it’s been a long line. But people said, ‘Even though we spent 20 minutes in line, you’re doing a good job.’ It makes me feel good.”
And the economy was foremost in people’s minds as they went to the voting booths and cast their choice for President.
-- Steven Ryan/www.wickedlocalneedham.com
Voter list glitch plagues Cambridge
Widespread voting problems have been plaguing Cambridge voters Tuesday morning.
Many voters who had been standing in line to vote found out they were not on the official voting list and were directed to fill out provisional ballots. Many voters told the Chronicle the list that poll workers had in hand did not match the list that was posted on the outside of polling places.
"This is so upsetting," said Marlene Beggelman, who voted using a provisional ballot at the fire station on Lexington Street." I cannot believe they could screw up so badly. It’s so incompetent."
"Unfortunately there was an incomplete voter list earlier this morning, but as soon as this was realized, a correction was made and a new list was immediately distributed to all polling locations," Ini Tomeu, spokeswoman for the city, said in an e-mail. "In the interim, a process was established where residents not on the list were still able to vote by provisional ballot."
Tomeu said she did not know what caused the error.
-- David L. Harris/www.wickedlocalcambridge.com
Talk of the town in Avon is Question 2
Perhaps it’s because of the problems with substance abuse among youth in this town, but surprisingly, the comments the people holding signs outside Avon Town Hall are hearing are not about Obama vs. McCain or even the dog racing ban, but about Question 2. That’s the one (in case you missed it) on whether to make possession of a small amount of marijuana a civil, rather than criminal, offence.
Emilie O’Laughlin, a cashier at Kohls who used to own the town’s main liquor store, was outside in the beautiful weather stumping for John McCain. She said she’s not getting much reaction from people heading into the polls on the presidential candidates (”I think people themselves are afraid to give you the high sign,” she said), but said she has heard people talking about the marijuana question. Personally, she’s against it. “I don’t think it’s any good for the youth of America” she said. Fellow Republican Mike Lawler – who declined to say whether he’s for or against the measure – said the change would be a huge burden on the forensics investigators in the state.
And it’s not just a Republican thing. Resident Cheryl Wilkerson, who was out supporting Obama, also said a lot of people have commented to her about that particular question. She also opposes it.
“A lot of people I spoke to said, ‘yes, give the kids a chance,’” she said. “I say, you start bending the rules … just leave things the way they are.”
Polls packed in Canton on Election Day
Canton voters were out in huge numbers on Election Day, the polls brimming with supporters of both presidential candidates — Senators Barack Obama and John McCain.
Obviously, this is a very historic election today,” said Allen Karon, A Canton resident and supporter Obama. He was supporting his candidate by holding a sign outside Canton High School, a voting location in town.
“We have the chance to bring America’s global standing to where it used to be,” he added.
Assistant Town Clerk Gale McHugo said leading up to the election, her phone lines were extremely busy.
“Yesterday, (Nov. 3), the phone just kept ringing with questions from voters,” she said. “As soon as we hung up, the phone would ring again.”
- Don Seiffert, The Enterprise
Generations of dog track workers out in force in Raynham
As you might expect, many of those in Raynham holding signs in support of greyhound racing have strong connections to Raynham Park, connections in some cases that go back generations.
Carolyn Rogers, 67, has worked at the Raynham dog track for 14 years. She said she’s supporting her 97-year-old mother, who lives with her, with money she earns there.
Her son, James Rogers, 32, also works at the track. He’s married with 3 year old and another baby on the way.
“My whole life depends on this job,” Carolyn said. “My son’s life does, too. Where am I going to get a job at my age and be retrained?”
Smooth start in Hanson
There was no waiting at the polls in Hanson this morning. In only one of four precincts, more than 180 voters had cast ballots during the first hour of voting.
The family that votes together, stays together
Joseph Derrane and his son Matt showed up at the polls together in Raynham and, at least on some of the bigger issues, voted the same way. Derrane, 52, a FedEx driver, said he voted for Obama, against eliminating the state income tax and against abolishing greyhound racing.
His son, 24 and a senior at Bridgewater State College, voted the same.
Both said they felt the two ballot questions would have had a terrible impact on the state and local economy.
“I don’t think they’re argument are wrong,” Matt said of those opposed to greyhound racing. “But we should wait a few years.”
Added Joseph referring to both ballot votes: “I don’t think the economy could stand a drastic change. It’s too fragile. I voted “no” on (Question) 3 because I think it’s the lesser of two evils.”
Voters line up early at Barnstable Senior Center
In Barnstable more than 100 people were waiting on line ten minutes before the polls opened at 7 a.m. with a continuous stream of people but no big waits.
Poll workers in Barnstable said they are expecting a steady turnout throughout day and urged avoiding the peak times around noon and 5.
Outside polling the place were volunteers and candidates holding signs and waving to voters. The staff at the senior center are taking advantage of crowds with fund raising raffle of for the chance to win gift baskets for $1 a ticket for a chance to win.
"We are taking advantage of the crowds coming here to raise some money" said one senior.
From patriotledger.com, wickedlocalcapecod.com, enterprisenews.com, wickedlocalcanton.com