WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The early voting was steady in Westfield, Thursday night. This is the first time Massachusetts residents are able to cast their presidential votes early.
However, each city and town is responsible for the cost, as required by the state. This is called an “unfunded mandate.”
Westfield City Clerk Karen Fanion told 22News, “I think that the state should probably help out with it a little bit, I mean it is a mandate from the state, so they should probably help out with it; so perhaps in the future, we can address that with the state.”
For the City of Westfield, that’s $2,500 out of the city’s budget. That covers 6 employees per day for the duration of early voting, which is from Monday, October 24th to Friday, November 4th. Fanion said the city did receive a $2,000 state grant to cover weekend hours.
Westfield has seen 1,200 early voters, since early voting started. Fanion said they’ve average about 300 voters per day, so far.
Joe Mitchell of Westfield said, “This has been such a polarizing election, I do believe there have been a lot of people who have made up their mind and maybe have done so quite some time ago. So I think there are fewer undecideds are waiting right to the last minute to figure out which way they want to vote.”
Each ballot is placed in an envelope and sealed. At the end of the night, the city clerk places the ballots in a bag. That bag is placed in city’s vault and locked away until Election Day. On Election Day, a police officer will deliver the bag to a voting precinct.