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November 06. 2012 1:57PM

Long line for new voter registration in Raymond a harbinger of big turnout


Four-year-old Alec Richardson peeks out from below the voting booths in Raymond on Tuesday afternoon as his mother, Sharon Richardson, fills out her ballot. Turnout was strong in Raymond on Tuesday, as it was in most other New Hampshire communities. (GRETYL MACALASTER/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

RAYMOND - The new voter registration line was long at the polls Tuesday as town officials worked to keep up.

Town moderator Kathleen Hoelzel said she has never seen such long lines in her years working the polls.

Extra volunteers were brought in to help in anticipation of high voter turnout, but Hoelzel said they did not anticipate the number of new voters.

“Some are aggravated but they understand. They had all this time to register, so there is nothing I can do to change that,” Hoelzel said.

In 2008, about 356 people registered to vote on election day, and Hoelzel said she expected an even higher number this year based on the morning lines.

She did not have numbers immediately available on how many residents had registered as of noontime, but overall turnout was at an all-time high with nearly 2,000 residents having cast their ballots.

During the local elections in March, only 1,065 voters turned out all day.

Assistant town moderator Tim Louis said the turnout was “unbelievable.”

“The thing I always maintain is, whether or not my candidate wins, so long as there's a turnout like this, the people have spoken,” Louis said.

Mike Caulfield, 25, waited in the new voter registration line with his four-year-old daughter, Mya Michelle, Tuesday.

He said he did not vote in 2008 but thought it was important to exercise his right to do so this year.

He said through Facebook and other social media he has seen a lot more friends talking about getting out to vote than in years past. He also feels it is important to start educating his young daughter about the process.

“I think more people are aware of what is going on this year and what the importance is and want to present what they believe in,” Caulfield said.


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