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Peterborough voters started lining up at 6:30 a.m.
Voters wind around the Peterborough Town House stairs during the election Tuesday morning. (MEGHAN PIERCE)
Former state Rep. Andy Peterson holds up a sign for Congressman Charlie Bass next to state Rep. Bruce Marcus outside of the Peterborough Town House Tuesday morning. (MEGHAN PIERCE)
Ballot clerk Fran Chapman checks in a voter at the Peterborough Town House Tuesday morning. (MEGHAN PIERCE)
PETERBOROUGH – Voters lined up outside the Town House since 6:30 a.m. were waiting for election officials when the polls were opened at 7 a.m. this morning.
Once inside, voters were greeted by deputy town clerk Bob Lambert who told voters with a photo ID to continue up the stairs, winding a long line up the staircase and into the upper hall where voting was taking place.
If voters didn't have a photo ID, they had two choices, Lambert said: Sign an affidavit swearing they are who they say they are or take a yellow slip of paper telling them to see the town moderator. Town voting officials would then decide, Lambert said cheerfully: “Their decision, not mine.”
The early morning voters said the turnout seemed larger than in the recent primary, in which about 1,200 of the town's registered 4,565 voters showed up.
“I would say this is crowded,” said Stephen Price, waiting in line on the stairway.
He came to vote at 7 a.m. because he had to be at work in Keene by 8 a.m.
Once inside the upper hall, long lines to obtain a ballot awaited voters.
“Normally we have four ballot clerks; today we have six,” said voting official Roland Patten.
Selectmen chairwoman Barbara Miller said that based on the 70 percent turnout prediction from Secretary of State William Gardner expected for the entire state, town voting officials are expecting the same turnout of 2008, which was about 3,200 voters.
In the first hour of voting, though busy, the process was moving smoothly.
Most voters had IDs ready to show the ballot clerks, and only a few had to sign affidavits.
Leslie Kenney, who has lived in the town since 1992, took exception to the new voter ID law. Entering the hall and saying hello to Miller, Kenney asked Miller to vouch for her, not because she didn't have her ID with her but because she didn't want to show it.
However, after waiting in line and finally reaching a ballot clerk, Kenney showed her ID to avoid having to leave the line to have Miller vouch for her and then have to re-enter the line.
Kenney said she wanted to take a stand again the new law.
“I feel like it is another expression of voter suppression,” Kenney said.
She said in a small town like Peterborough, the voter ID law does not have much of an effect on voter turnout, but in larger cities such as Manchester or in larger states, it could discourage voters by making the process more cumbersome.
Besides, she said, most voter fraud takes place either before or after voting takes place, she said.
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