Early Voting Begins Today, Local Town Clerks Ready

Barnstable Town Hall.

HYANNIS – Residents who don’t want to wait until Election Day in November to vote can begin casting their ballots today with early voting.

Registered voters will be allowed to cast ballots for any reason at designated early voting locations in their towns through November 2.

“I believe some people think it is the best way to get all voters voting,” said Ann Quirk, the Barnstable Town Clerk.

“Honestly, I would love to see all the voters voting.”

Although early voting provides more convenience for residents in the state, it did not result in more people voting during the 2016 election – the first time early voting was utilized in the state.

In Barnstable, Quirk said there was a 77 percent turnout for both the 2016 and 2012 presidential elections.

“I don’t see that it brought out new voters necessarily,” she said. “It’s a convenience and it should be done as a convenience and I have no problem with that.”

Sandwich Town Clerk Taylor White said his office is ready for the busy two-week period.

“Monday morning we’ll begin the onslaught of early voters,” White said. “We are ready and willing for the masses to be lining up outside the doors.”

Almost 4,500 residents cast early voting ballots in Sandwich in 2016.

“We are not expecting quite that much this term, but probably 3,500 is my estimate,” White said. “We’re ready to go.”

White is estimating about 25 to 30 percent of town voters will cast early voting ballots. In 2016, about 35 percent of voters in town voted early.

There will be a change to early voting this time around in Barnstable.

“The difference this time is we are going to put it all through the Town Clerk’s office so that we are not spending hours, and hours and hours then inputting that information after hours into the voter registration information system,” Quirk said.

Early voting in Barnstable will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays during the two-week voting period, with extended hours on Tuesdays until 8 p.m. The office will also be open on Saturday, October 27 from 8 a.m. until noon.

Sandwich early voters will also see a change this year – new technology.

The town recently purchased more than a dozen Poll Pads, which are an innovative device to assist staff check in voters.

“It is basically an iPad that has the technology of supplementing the old paper voting list for an electronic check in system which speeds up the process for checking in voters,” White said.

The system also helps staff quickly process early voting ballots once they are cast.

White said early voters can use their license to check in with the new Poll Pad system to make the process even fast, though ID is not required to vote in Massachusetts.

According to White, town clerks across the state are embracing the idea of early voting and are trying to make it as easy and convenient as possible for voters.

For early voting times and locations for each town, visit the secretary of state’s website by clicking here.

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