By Beth David, Editor
Early voting in Massachusetts ends on Friday, 11/2, so if you can’t make it to the polls on election day, which is Tuesday, 11/6, you have a little more time to mark your choices. Early voting began on October 22.
In Fairhaven, early voters can go to the Fire Station, 146 Washington Street, to cast their votes, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on both of the remaining days.
In Acushnet, voters can go to the Town Hall Annex (Parting Ways Building), 130 Main Street, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Friday.
This is the second state election that has offered early voting to Massachusetts voters. Press time came a little too early to make an accurate comparison, but it looked like both towns were running a bit behind the numbers from the last election.
In Acushnet, about 1800 people voted early in 2016, according to Town Clerk Pamela Labonte. In Fairhaven, it was around 1700, said Acting Town Clerk Carolyn Hurley.
As of Wednesday, which includes Tuesday voting, not Wednesday’s numbers, Fairhaven had a little more than 800 early voters; Acushnet had about 600.
The numbers have grown with each day, in Fairhaven from 78 on day one of early voting to 167 on Tuesday.
Linda Fredette, Fairhaven Town Clerk Office Assistant, said that it was still quite possible for Fairhaven to reach the same numbers as in 2016. She said more than 600 people voted on the last day of early voting in that election.
Ms. Hurley said she was happy with the way things were going so far, with everything running smoothly.
“This is great,” she said. “People are coming out.”
Voters who want to vote early will be greeted by poll workers who will take their names and check them in, much like on election day, although the two towns have slightly different procedures for handling the lists and checkout.
Each early voter will get an envelope and a ballot. He or she will go into a private booth and mark the ballot, and place it into the envelope. The envelope will need to be filled out with the voter’s name, address, and must be signed by the voter, similar to absentee voting.
In Fairhaven and Acushnet, the process differs a little from this point, but all ballots in both towns will go into ballot boxes that lock. Ballot boxes are never left unattended until put away for the night.
At the end of each day, the names are inputted into a database that is sent to the state,
so that early voters are noted as having voted when election day rolls around.
There are two or three opportunities along the way for the check-in, check-out numbers to be verified. And, again, each town has slight variations on how they handle that, within the guidelines set by the state. But on election day, anyone who has voted early will already be checked in and out to prevent anyone from voting twice.
Each afternoon, after voting is over and the information has been sent to the state, the ballot boxes are locked away in a secure place.
“We’re coming in early, we’re working late,” said Ms. Hurley.
The ballots themselves will actually put into the voting machines to be counted on election day by poll workers throughout the course of the voting day.
Call your town clerk’s office if you have any questions: 508-998-0215 in Acushnet; 508-979-4022 in Fairhaven.
Support local journalism, donate to the Neighb News at: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=Y6V5ARRYH689G
Click here to download the entire 11/1/18 issue: 11-01-18 Horribles