Early voting ends Friday, exceeds 10% turnout in area

Westfield city clerk Karen Fanion at Early Voting. (Photo by Amy Porter)

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – Early voting across the state and in Westfield ends on Friday, Nov. 4 at 5 p.m.
City clerk Karen Fanion said that as of Thursday at noon, Westfield had seen 3,383 early voters.

“It’s been an outstanding turnout. It’s been well received by voters, (who are) grateful for the opportunity to vote early,” Fanion said. She said the maximum wait time has been 10 minutes, with the average wait about 5 minutes.

Fanion said the highest traffic times for early voting were at 9 a.m. when doors opened, and then again at 1 p.m., with a steady flow of voters throughout the day.

She also said that early voting yielded more voters each day. The first day, Oct. 24, Westfield had 250 voters, and by Friday, Oct. 28 it climbed to 389 voters for the day. During extended hours on Saturday, Oct 29, 418 voters came in. Fanion said every day this week has been in the 400 to 440 range.

“The original forecast for Early Voters was 10% but we have already surpassed that number. We are at 13% at this time. If we continue to go at this rate or even a bit higher we will round out at about 18 to 20%,” Fanion said on Thursday.

Town clerks in the surrounding hilltowns were also impressed by the turnout for early voting. By law, towns only had to make early voting available during the town clerk’s regular business hours, so many of the towns were finished with their hours earlier in the week.

In Tolland, town clerk Susan H. Voudren said that due to the response she had extended Early Voting hours to Wednesday this week.

“As of close of day (Tuesday), I had 30 early voters (out of) 400 registered voters in Tolland, almost 10%,” Voudren said. “This morning (Wednesday) I had the webmaster send out a ‘news and notices’ alert and also put on the town website that due to the terrific response I was extending early voting hours to Wednesday, Nov. 2 noon – 5 p.m. I have already had three more people come in today and it is only 12:15 p.m.!” she added.

Montgomery town clerk Jodie J. Paradis agreed that the response was strong for early voting during the two hours each on the two Mondays in a row that the town had hours.

“We have been having a very good turnout for early voting considering the size of our town. I am guessing that we are around 100 at this point. Not too shabby if you consider that we often total out at 125-150 (per election),” Paradis said.

In Huntington, town clerk Andrea McKittrick said that elections in the town can draw anywhere from 200 to 1,000 voters out of the 1,500 registered, although she anticipates the presidential election will be on the high side. As of Thursday mid-day, with a few more hours to go, Huntington had 165 early voters turn out.

“It was quite a steady stream of people,” McKittrick said. She said the process did go smoothly, and the final test will be counting the ballots on election day.