Officials pleasantly surprised by high primary turnout

  • The Athol Senior Center at 82 Freedom St. was converted into a polling center for the state primary election Tuesday.  Deborrah Porter

  • Voters check in with poll workers at the Athol Senior Center, 82 Freedom St., prior to voting in the state primary election Tuesday. Deborrah Porter

  • The Athol Senior Center at 82 Freedom Street was the site of voting for all three Athol Precincts Tuesday. —Athol Daily News/Deborrah Porter

Staff Writer
Published: 9/4/2018 11:00:19 PM
Modified: 9/4/2018 11:00:53 PM

ATHOL — Ninety-degree weather didn’t seem to deter a steady stream of voters casting ballots in the State Primary Election, at the Athol Senior Center on Tuesday.

The seniors’ meeting hall, converted into the makeshift polling center, was streamlined, with all voters entering a single door and queuing up at tables corresponding to their appropriate precinct. Poll workers cheerfully greeted residents as they checked in to get their ballots. Voters made their way to the ballot boxes where, heads bent, they made their selections. Moving to the tables at the far end of the room, they checked out, again exchanging pleasantries with the poll workers. And after the voter slid their ballot into the counting machine, long-time poll worker Susie Feldman rewarded them with an oval “I Voted” sticker.

“It’s been much busier than anticipated,” said Town Clerk Nancy Burnham, “There has been a steady stream of voters this morning. Primaries usually don’t draw such a large crowd.”

The town has 6,931 registered voters out of a population of 11,584.

Retired Athol Police Sgt. Kent A. Hager, who has worked the polls for the last three years, echoed Burnham’s remarks. He noted the number of voters who turned out was high. “We don’t usually have such a large turnout for this kind of election — it’s a pleasant surprise,” he said.

Burnham noted that the Town Clerk’s office will be closed Wednesday, and will open as usual on Thursday.

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