EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

November 7, 2012

Salem officials to reconsider redistricting

Long lines had some voters fuming

(Continued)

"We might have to go with five, though," he said.

He said one problem is that while 7,200 residents vote at the senior center, only 2,900 go to Lancaster School.

The need to consider redistricting became evident hours before the onslaught of voters who hit the polls about 5 p.m. Tuesday

As a line of more than 100 voters packed a hallway at Mary Fisk School as early as 3:30 p.m., Goodnow said redistricting would have to be considered.

Voters were clearly frustrated.

"This is just crazy," said Lisa Moore, 48. "This is Salem, though."

Election officials said there was a steady flow of voters all day, beginning with those waiting to vote as early as 5:30 a.m. But the numbers didn't really pick up until early evening, when people stopped off to vote on their way home from work.

That led to the crush of voters at the senior center, where the wait was still an hour and half as of 6:30 p.m. — half an hour before the polls were closed.

Voters, trying to keep warm, voiced their frustration while waiting in line as the temperature outside dipped into the 30s. Extra police officers were called in to maintain control and direct traffic. There were no incidents or arrests, Goodnow said.

Shane Blair, 52, was afraid he wouldn't get a chance to vote.

"If they close the polls before I get up there to vote, there will be a lawsuit,” he said.

Goodnow had considered seeking state approval for extending polling Tuesday, but stuck with the original plan. Residents were allowed to vote if they had been in line or walking up to the polls at 7 p.m.

Voter turnout soared to 76 percent in Salem, with 14,597 of 19,286 registered voters casting ballots. That included 1,430 people who registered to vote that same day, Goodnow said.

There were no major problems or long waits reported at North Salem and Lancaster schools.

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