GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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October 12, 2012

Election votes already rolling in

Clerks: Signs signal heavy interest, turnout

While the November elections are still a few weeks away, some Cape Ann residents have already cast their votes by absentee ballot.

And the number of absentee ballots handed in — 387 in Gloucester alone, as of Thursday — plus the number of people asking for them, is higher than usual, leading Cape Ann city and town clerks to gear up already for a substantial turnout in November.

City Clerk Linda Lowe said that, beyond receiving nearly 400 absentee votes already, more residents are requesting them each day. During the 2010 special Senate race, between now-Sen. Scott Brown and Attorney General Martha Coakley, the city saw more than 500 absentee ballots turned in.

“We were swamped,” she said.

The high absentee ballot count, Lowe said, usually means a large turnout on Election Day.

With it being a presidential election, that’s expected, Lowe added, but the early interest seems to be exceeding that pace.

In all, 15,055 Gloucester voters cast ballots in the 2008 elections, and Low said she’s already expecting similar numbers on Nov. 6.

“We’re getting absentee ballot requests each day,” said Essex Town Clerk Christina Wright.

Wright said she’s had 80 requests so far, with 18 ballots turned in. She expects a 90 percent turnout at the Essex polls on election day. But, she added, the town also had a 90 percent turnout of 2,200 voters in the 2008 presidential elections, where President Barack Obama won the race over Sen. John McCain.

Registered voters have until noon on Monday, Nov. 5 — the day before the election — to pick up absentee ballots, provided they qualify for one. The deadline for registering to vote, however, is next Wednesday, Oct. 17. Polls open for the elections on Nov. 6.

The Gloucester Clerk’s office, said Lowe, will be open to 8 p.m that day, as will other clerks offices around Cape Ann.

Essex and Gloucester aren’t the only Cape Ann communities seeing high absentee ballot requests. Manchester Town Clerk Denise Samolchuck said she’s had 186 residents request absentee ballots. She said she’s expecting a high turnout, too.

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