NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Election Connection

November 5, 2012

Heavy turnout expected

Polls open statewide tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Voters throughout the region will head to the polls tomorrow in an election that is expected to draw heavy turnout.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. across Massachusetts. In Amesbury, voters will be going to a new polling place — Amesbury High School on Highland Avenue — in part because of the expected turnout.

Election clerks throughout the state are preparing for a large number of voters, based on the large number of absentee ballots that have been requested. In West Newbury, Town Clerk Michael McCarron said with a record 302 absentee ballot requests already submitted — and more anticipated by Election Day — he is doubling the number of voting booths to accommodate what he believes will be a larger-than-typical turnout at the polls.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot is noon today and the ballot must be returned before the polls close at 8 p.m. tomorrow.

“I believe that this will be the largest turnout in our history,” said McCarron, who expects polling workers will be tallying results long after the polls close.

In addition to turnout, an unusually long ballot may also slow the process — unless voters take the time to review it ahead of time.

The ballot in greater Newburyport contains three high profile races — for president, U.S. Senate and U.S. representative — plus state Senate and House races, a variety of statewide ballot questions and referendum questions, and in Newbury, a proposed property tax hike. West Newbury voters also face a rare “tax underride” vote, which would reduce the town’s overall tax burden by $180,000.

On the presidential election, voters will see four parties on the ballot — Democratic President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, GOP challenger Mitt Romney and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, plus Libertarian and Green-Rainbow party candidates.

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