EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 12, 2012

Clerks busy as voter registration deadline looms

Area city and town clerk offices are buzzing with activity as Wednesday’s voter registration deadline draws closer.

Hundreds of Merrimack Valley residents are expected to register to vote before the statewide deadline of Wednesday at 8 p.m., and clerks offices across Massachusetts will be open late that night to accommodate them.

Clerks are also sending out dozens of absentee ballots to voters every day in anticipation of the Nov. 6 election.

“We’ve been extremely busy with voter registration and absentee balloting,” said Andover Town Clerk Larry Murphy. “We got busy for the gubernatorial election in 2010, but nothing like this.”

Murphy said 608 Andover residents have registered to vote since mid-August. Since the Sept. 6 primary election, 1,300 Lawrence residents have registered to vote along with 809 voters in Haverhill, 742 in Methuen and 688 in North Andover.

Haverhill City Clerk Margaret Toomey expects 300 more city residents will register before the Wednesday deadline.

“I expect a lot, at the rate they’re coming in,” said Toomey.

Massachusetts residents can register to vote at any city or town clerk’s office in the state. Mail-in registration forms are also available online on the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website and must be postmarked by Wednesday, Oct. 17.

The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is noon the day before the election. To vote using an absentee ballot, residents must expect to be absent from their city or town during election day, or have a physical disability or religious belief that will prevent them from voting at their polling place.

North Andover has already sent out 1,125 absentee ballots and Andover 906. Both Murphy and North Andover Town Clerk Joyce Bradshaw expect their offices will each send out around 1,000 absentee ballots before the election.

Haverhill has sent 762 absentee ballots to voters. Methuen has sent 671 and Lawrence 400.

“They’re pouring in,” said Methuen City Clerk Christine Touma-Conway. “We must be getting roughly 30 a day.”

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