EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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March 12, 2013

N.H. voters face big decisions today

Polls are open throughout New Hampshire

More than 80 percent of Windham voters cast ballots in November. Town Clerk Nicole Merrill doesn’t expect to see a turnout like that today, but does hope for more than the usual 15 to 20 percent.

Thanks to one big-money article, Merrill said she expects to see more of the 9,964 registered voters than usual.

Windham voters are deciding on the most expensive warrant article in the region, a new $31 million middle school.

The school would be located near Windham High School on London Bridge Road to serve seventh- and eighth-graders. It would open in 2015 if voters approve it today. The article requires three-fifths approval for passage.

“We want every citizen to be involved,” Merrill said. “But, this year, we would imagine that we will have a larger turnout than usual.”

 

Voters there also will elect a selectman today. Al Letizio and Alan Carpenter are battling for a three-year term.

There are big issues in other towns, too.

While it is a non-binding vote, a warrant article in Salem could affect the entire region. Voters will let the town know if they are in favor of a casino at Rockingham Park. Sen. Chuck Morse, R-Salem, has said a casino would generate millions of dollars for Salem and the surrounding communities.

Town Clerk Susan Wall said the town is preparing for an extra influx of voters this year because of the casino question.

“We have never given away so many sample ballots,” she said. “We have extra people working the polls and ordered extra polling booths this year.”

Wall said between 2,500 and 3,000 of the town’s approximately 24,000 registered voters turn out at Town Meeting each year. This year, she is expecting upward of 4,000 voters.

Salem voters also are deciding whether to OK $17 million in renovations to three of the town’s elementary schools. Last year, voters rejected $21.5 million worth of renovations to the same schools.

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