Almost 20 percent of the town’s 10,416 registered voters already have cast their ballots for Tuesday’s state primary election.
Town Clerk Bridget Rodrigue said Wednesday morning that her office mailed about 3,500 ballots, as requested, and so far roughly half have been returned. In-person early voting has begun at Town Hall, and after a weekend turnout of 64, more than 100 voters showed up Monday and Tuesday.
“And this is just a warmup for November,” Rodrigue exclaimed.
If you’re looking for a partial score, forget it: Vote-counting can’t legally begin until election day, Tuesday, September 1, when they will be run through the tabulator at John Glenn Middle School, the polling location for all four Bedford precincts.
However, Rodrigue noted, the secretary of state’s office is allowing advance opening of mailed-in ballots, “so that will help us move a little faster on election day.”
It takes a lot longer to open ballots than to count them, especially during a pandemic.
There’s a process, and it’s complex. Each envelope has to be opened by hand. The name is announced and checked off the voter list. Every envelope and every ballot has to be stamped. The ballots are divided by party and locked into storage by precinct. To maintain social distancing, three election workers are involved, the town clerk said.
Early voting for the November 3 general election will begin on October 17, and continue for two weeks, including two weekends, she reported. “We will send out mail-in ballots as soon as they are received,” which, of course, won’t be until after the primary.
Editor’s Note: Click this link to read about The Citizen’s current snap poll, then share your choice of voting method