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November 06. 2012 1:24PM

Rindge expecting an all-time voting record today


Rindge election official Dan Whitney directs voters to the ballot clerks inside the Rindge Memorial School gymnasium Tuesday morning. (MEGHAN PIERCE)


Two-year-old Alexa Wheeler waits while her mother, Heidi, digs into her purse for her photo ID for ballot clerk Carol Donovan during voting inside the Rindge Memorial School gymnasium Tuesday morning. (MEGHAN PIERCE)

RINDGE – It looks like the town could see an all-time voting high today, said town moderator David Tower.

“I think we're going to exceed our record turnout, which was in 2008,” he said.

In 2008 a little over 3,400 of the town's 3,700 voters turned out, he said.

At around 11 a.m., about 1,170 people had already voted, Tower said.

“It's been very busy,” he said.

Between the hours of 7 and 8 a.m. were the busiest with a long line leading out of the Rindge Memorial School gymnasium where the town votes and into the school's front hall and out the front door. Tower said he expects late afternoon between 4 p.m. and when the polls close at 7 p.m. to also be very busy.

“A lot of residents work out of town,” he said.

Despite the heavy turnout, Tower said the election has been running “very smooth.”

Tower said most residents have arrived with their photo IDs ready to show the ballot clerks.

“Everyone comes in with a license in hand. They seem to be informed,” Tower said. “We've maybe had three or four people fill out affidavits.”

Only one voter took issue with the new state law, he said.

The woman got upset when asked to show her ID, Tower said, so he read her a letter from the Attorney General's Office explaining the new voter law and told her she could sign an affidavit if she did not have an ID.

The woman declined and left without voting, Tower said. “She said she wanted to talk to her husband about it.”

Poll worker Dan Whitney was greeting voters with a big smile as they came toward the ballot clerks, and he helped direct them to the right clerk.

“This is like Easter, and Christmas and St. Patrick's Day all rolled into one,” Whitney said.

The election is moving in a positive and pleasant way, he said.

So far the new voter ID law has not slowed down the process, but it is one more step, he said, so it could slow voting down when the polls are expected to get busier later in the day, he said.

Though she and fellow Republican state Rep. John Hunt are running unopposed, Susan Emerson did not miss the chance to say hello to voters. She was posted outside the school with her 10-year-old Great Dane, Miss Gerda.

Emerson who up until recently had been representing the towns of Jaffrey and Rindge, now represents Rindge and Fitzwilliam. The redistricting was a move to oust her and other moderate Republicans, she said.

Though she was confident the “radical” Republicans swept into the State House two years ago would be voted out today, Emerson said if Bill O'Brien remains speaker of the House, “I'm leaving the Republican Party. It's that bad at the State House.”

Emerson said she would become a Democrat.

“Politics have never been this dirty,” Emerson said.

Holding Democratic signs outside of the school, residents Jo Ellen D'Ambrosio, Julie Flood Page and Jane Hersey said they are optimistic that President Barack Obama will be reelected.


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