SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Election

November 6, 2012

North Shore election officials report heavy voter turnout

Busy has been the word of the day to describe polling places across the North Shore today.

"Very, very busy. Crazy busy," reported a worker in the city clerk's office in Peabody, when asked about turnout for today's election.

In Salem, a spokesman for the city clerk's office reported more than 35 percent of registered voters had already cast ballots by 1:45 p.m.

As of 2 p.m. in Beverly, 45 percent, or 11,633 people, had voted, according to the city clerk's office. How does this compare to the last presidential election? At 2 p.m. in 2008, 46 percent of Beverly's registered voters had cast ballots by 2 p.m., according to the clerk's office.

In Wenham, 1,550 of the town's 2,900 registered voters — just over 53 percent — had cast ballots by 3 p.m.

"It's what I expected," said Town Clerk Trudy Reid, just after 3 p.m. "We'll probably get to 85 or 90 percent (voter turnout)."

In 2008, Wenham had 86 percent voter turnout with 165 absentee ballots. This year, Reid said she's received close to 350 absentee ballots.

Today's busy pace is a good test for the town's new polling location. Wenham voters are casting ballots at Town Hall today, a change from Buker School, where polls have been for years. Reid said she's gotten both complaints and compliments about the new polling place, and a few voters who arrived after going to Buker first.

"All in all it's going fairly well," she said. "I've had a few complaints about parking ... I haven't had to run off any campaigners, they seem to know where to stand (far enough away from the polls)."

As of 3:30 p.m., 2,941 of Hamilton's 5,837 registered voters had cast ballots, or just over 50 percent.

That's "very, very busy," according to the town clerk's office.

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