EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

March 7, 2014

Salem officials concerned about polling change

Ballots will be cast at The Rock

SALEM — For more than a century, Rockingham Park served as an entertainment venue for those who wanted to place bets on racehorses.

But on Tuesday, the former racetrack will serve as one of the Salem’s four polling places as voters choose candidates and decide issues. That’s because Fisk School, a regular polling place, is undergoing major renovations.

Some selectmen are concerned about having residents vote at The Rock, mostly because they are afraid the onetime change in the polling places will confuse voters.

They met earlier this week with town moderator Christopher Goodnow, who assured them there shouldn’t be any problems on Tuesday.

But Selectman Patrick Hargreaves said he was worried young children who accompanied their parents would accidentally wander into the charitable gaming areas at the park.

He asked if youngsters could still come to the facility, which does not allow minors.

Goodnow said voters and their children would be directed to the polls and away from gaming.

“It should be fairly straightforward,” he said. “You don’t have to buy a ticket on the way in.”

Hargreaves was satisfied.

“I’m just thinking of all the scenarios that could happen,” he said.

Another scenario is that voters would go to Fisk School and wonder why they couldn’t vote there.

In the past, Selectman Michael Lyons said, he’s fielded calls from residents who weren’t sure where they should vote.

“I suspect that I will get calls on Election Day, saying, ‘I live on such and such street, where do I vote?” Lyons said.

The town redistricted a few years ago, going from six polling places to four. The changes meant the town no longer uses Town Hall for voting and now using the Ingram Senior Center.

Other polling places are North Salem and Lancaster Elementary Schools.

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