Cape Cod Town Clerks Getting Ready for Early Voting

KA_town elections selectman_orleans_election_051716_008HYANNIS – Early voting for the upcoming election will get underway later this month and the process could cause some challenges for town clerks.

For the first time in the Commonwealth, registered voters will be able to cast ballots before the day of the election from October 24 through Novmeber 4.

In Barnstable, early voting polls will be set up on the third floor of Town Hall.

Barnstable Town Clerk Ann Quirk said she is working hard to get poll workers to cover the early voting hours.

“We don’t know how many we are going to need because we don’t know what the impact is going to be,” Quirk said.

The uncertainty of not knowing how many people will vote early is what worries town clerks the most about preparing for early voting.

Quirk said she is going to err on the side of caution and have more workers than too few.

“The only way I know how to do this is to make sure we have enough people to handle to folks coming through the door,” she said.

Quirk is not sure what to expect when it comes to early voting turnout but said the town averages 4,000 absentee ballots in presidential election years.

Early voting is similar to absentee ballots, which are still available for those who can’t make it to the polls on the day of the election.

Sandwich Town Clerk Taylor White said early will pose challenges for town clerks.

“It is very much an additional, potential administrative burden for clerks who are already getting ready for one of the biggest elections in over a decade,” White said.

Town clerks have the ability to designate where the early voting will be located and what hours they will be open.

“Most clerk’s offices I believe are doing it in their actual office or int the building where their office is located,” White said.

In Sandwich, early voting will be available in the town clerk’s office during normal operating hours.

The early voting ballots will not be counted until election day.

In 2014, Massachusetts passed an election reform law requiring early voting every two years for the November election. It is one of 33 states in the country that allows early voting.

The last day to register to vote in Massachusetts is October 19.

“We’ve had a lot of duplicate voters,” White said. He recommends individuals visit the Massachusetts secretary of state’s website or call their town clerk to find out if they are already registered.

Election Day is November 8.


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