NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Election Connection

November 7, 2012

Decision day turns landmark day

Record-setting turnout sweeps the region

(Continued)

Jones noted one difference in this year’s voting process: there were a number of GOP observers at each of the polling locations,

“We got a lot of observers,” Jones said. “It was unusual to see people just watching.”

Other than that, the lines at the polls rivaled those of the 2008 election, perhaps edged higher due to greater higher number of registered voters in this election.

Mayor Donna Holaday, who popped into council chambers briefly before heading up to Haverhill to join O’Connor Ives, was impressed with the turnout.

“I guess I forgot how deep the lines were at the polls four years ago,” Holaday said. “At the Brown School, the line was all the way down the hall and snaking up the stairs. I’m thrilled.”

In Merrimac, the public library was a lively place on election night, as a steady stream of mostly smiling voters made their way to the polls.

By 7 p.m., more than 3,000 voters, some 70 percent of Merrimac’s 4,083 registered voters, had already cast their ballots.

“This is the greatest voter turnout for Merrimac in 25 years,” Town Clerk Pat True said. Absentee ballots also set a town record, with 262 of the 290 that were mailed out ultimately returned, processed and entered.

In the presidential battleground state of New Hampshire, voters in Seabrook were out early in what many believed would be a landmark election.

“I’ve been town clerk for 35 years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Seabrook Town Clerk Bonnie Fowler said. “When I unlocked the doors (to the polls) at 7 o’clock, the line of voters stretched right outside (the Community Center). That’s never happened before. It took until 8:45 (a.m.) just to clear the line.”

Town Moderator Paul Kelley said in the first half-hour the polls were open, 150 people cast ballots, more then he’s ever seen.

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