Early voters turn out in Westfield

early voters in Westfield
Courtesy: The Westfield News

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – By 4 p.m. on Monday, over 200 residents had performed their civic duty and voted in the state election, taking advantage of early voting.

“It’s been super busy. It’s been great,” said city clerk Karen Fanion. She said people have been very receptive to the idea.
Poll worker Kaitlyn Bruce was checking in voters in Council Chambers, where five voting booths were set up. She said people were lined up when the doors opened at 9 a.m.

“They’re excited that they have the option of an early ballot. It’s convenient. They’re excited that Massachusetts jumped on board,” Bruce said.

Rita and Thomas Rickus, who have lived in Westfield for four months after moving here from South Carolina, said they decided to vote early to avoid lines.

“I’m hearing stories about 2-3 hours wait on line, so we decided to vote early,” Thomas Rickus said. Originally from Connecticut, he said he’s never voted early before. 41 states now offer some form of early voting.

At the end of each early voting day, ballots will be locked up by precinct, to be counted in their precinct on Election Day. Fanion said she will have people designated to count the Early Voting ballots at each precinct.

“We’re going to run an actual training for those people prior to the election,” Fanion said. She said the process will be similar to counting absentee ballots.

Fanion said that Westfield will offer early voting Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., October 24 through November 4, with extended hours this Thursday, October 27, 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. and this Saturday, October 29 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.