SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – If you haven’t voted yet, you’ll now have to wait until Election Day, Tuesday, November 8. Four days before Election Day more than 3,600 ballots were already cast in South Hadley. That was just at the beginning of the final day of early voting on Friday.
“It’s easy, it’s convenient and it will make more people vote,” said Peter Rosskothen just outside the town clerk’s office, which coupled as the South Hadley polling center. “As you see, I just stepped in, ten minutes later I was done and I did my duty.”
22News watched as voter after voter quickly filled out a ballot, sealed the envelope and handed it in. South Hadley set aside between $4,000 and $5,000 in town tax money to offer early voting at town hall before and after regular hours, and to open on the weekend. Between October 24 and November 4, town hall stayed open until 9PM on two nights and opened some days at 7AM.
South Hadley did some exit polling to find out if early voters liked this new option. Many said they enjoyed not having to see people holding campaign signs outside like you would on Election Day. They also liked the flexible hours.
Town Administrator Michael Sullivan told 22News an independent organization, Common Cause, rated each early voting community based on how it got the word out about early voting, and South Hadley got a gold star.
“We had significant outreach through our reverse 911 system, signs on the front lawn, dedicated parking, encouraging people to come in at night,” said Sullivan. He hopes in the future, early voting will be an option for years with local elections. He believes it would help boost the relatively low voter turnout for those elections.
It’s convenient, but it’s certainly not for everyone: some people said they enjoy the tradition of casting their ballots on Election Day.