EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 2, 2012

Absentee votes expected to play key role in Nov.

By John Toolejtoole@eagletribune.com,
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — Republicans and Democrats are mounting a fight for absentee votes as they search for an edge in the closely contested battleground of New Hampshire, where contests for president, governor and Congress are tossups.

“This is a key component to ensure victory on November 6,” the Republican Party said in an email to the party faithful over the weekend.

Democrats want those votes, too.

“I think there’s a push on from both parties to get absentee ballot people to sign up,” Salem Democratic Committee chairman Larry Disenhof said.

“Certainly, there are a lot of close races. So getting out the vote is important,” Disenhof said.

“Both parties are going to do this because it is going to be close. They are going to get anybody they can to vote,” Southern New Hampshire University political science professor Dean Spiliotes said.

Town clerks in Southern New Hampshire are seeing the results.

“It’s starting to pick up considerably,” Hampstead Town Clerk Patricia Curran said. “We are well over 100 requests.”

The same is true in Pelham. “Our requests are about 105. We’re getting them regularly,” Deputy Town Clerk Linda Newcomb said.

Clerks agree it’s too soon to say whether this will be a big year for absentee balloting.

“The majority don’t come until just before the election,” Londonderry Town Clerk Meg Seymour said.

Londonderry has received close to 300 requests for ballots so far, Seymour said.

The race for president is likely a factor for some voters.

“The president is drawing them in,” Curran said.

Seymour has advice for voters on how soon to request their absentee ballots.

“As soon as possible, if they are eligible,” Seymour said. “They should do it sooner than later.”

There are votes at stake for Democrats and Republicans among shut-ins.

Susan Denopoulos, administrator at Warde Health Center in Windham, said residents already are talking among themselves about the election.

Those who can’t get to the polls will want to vote absentee, she said.

“The whole generation, they take this very seriously,” Denopoulos said. “They are very interested. They do vote.”

Sara Landry, director of the Pelham Senior Center, said some seniors may not be ready to vote just yet, never knowing what is going to happen from day to day in this campaign.

“People will want to wait until the last minute, especially if they are not 100 percent confirmed,” Landry said.