EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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November 5, 2012

Absentee ballot requests on '08 pace

Area city and town clerks offices are grappling with thousands of absentee ballots in the last week before the election, though the number is about on pace with 2008, the clerks said.

Absentee ballots are available until noon today at city or town hall and are accepted as long as they are handed in or received at city or town halls by tomorrow.

“Given the number of requests to date for 2012, it appears we may be in the same range or slightly higher for absentee ballot requests,” William Maloney, the Lawrence City Clerk, said. His office has received about 900 requests for absentee ballots as of Thursday, compared with 975 requests for 2008.

In Methuen, the requests are slightly ahead of the last presidential election, said city Clerk Christine Touma-Conway. As of Thursday, her office received 1,297 requests for absentee ballots, up from a total of 1,284 in 2008.

Touma-Conway said her office is struggling to catch up after being closed for two days last week because of Hurricane Sandy.

Haverhill’s clerk’s office has gotten 1,610 requests, including 50 they just sent out Friday to citizens living in Europe or serving overseas in the military, said Clerk Peggy Toomey. In 2008, they received 1,581 requests.

“There are lines in the office today with people voting,” she said Friday.

The Andovers each have several thousand requests for ballots.

In North Andover, Town Clerk Joyce Bradshaw said her office has gotten more than 2,000 requests this year, a bit higher than 2008. On Tuesday, she and her employees worked while a generator supplied electricity until service could be restored. The weather, she said, is one reason her office has reached out to people suggesting they vote absentee.

“We’ve told people, especially if they work out of town, if you work in Boston and there’s an issue with traffic, you may not get home in time,” she said. “We do outreach so people have the chance to vote.”

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