With less than a week left before the president-elect is chosen by the American people, the city of Gloucester is wrapping up early voting this week.
The last day for registered voters to cast early ballots in-person is this Friday, Oct. 30. Early votes may be cast Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Kyrouz Auditorium at City Hall, 9 Dale Ave.
"Early voting in-person ballots are processed and entered into the state system the same day the voter came in to early vote," City Clerk Joanne Senos said. "Mail-in ballots received by mail or in the drop box are processed daily."
Senos said that from Oct. 17 to 27, 3,261 people came to Kyrouz Auditorium to vote early.
The number of ballots mailed to city voters through Oct. 27 was approximately 9,500.
"Due to the voluminous amount of ballots returned by mail or dropbox and preparing them to go out to the polling locations, we don't have the time to calculate the number of returned ballots," Senos explained. "The state usually provides us with that number."
Once early voting closes this week, Tuesday is the day that is marked on calendars, Google alerts, and scribbled in notebooks as the day that will change the nation.
And in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, a disease no one expected to be at the forefront of conversation this time last year, Senos and her team at City Hall have a plan.
"On Election Day, Nov. 3, all polling locations will have PPE (personal protective equipment) in place, signage, and the voting booths will be cleaned during the voting hours," Senos explained.
If a resident is an inactive voter —a registered voter who has not responded to the annual street list or subsequent confirmation notice — Senos explained that they are required to sign an affirmation of current and continuous residence and must show a photo ID or mail with their name and address before they can receive a ballot.
She also stressed that, within 150 feet of the polling place, no person is allowed to wear political apparel, such as T-shirt, buttons, or hats; hold political signs; solicit votes for or against a candidate or question; or gather signatures or any petitions.
"Nothing intended to aid or defeat a candidate or ballot question is allowed within the 150-foot zone," she said.
Gloucester's preliminary results for the 2020 national presidential election are expected to roll in between 9:30 and 10 p.m. Tuesday.
A specimen ballot can be viewed at http://gloucester-ma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/7078/Specimen-Ballot?bidId=.
Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-675-2705 or firstname.lastname@example.org.