By Kelsey Bode Staff Writer
SALEM— Voters braved rain and winds Saturday morning to cast early ballots.
In Salem, City Clerk Ilene Simons said approximately 1,500 people had cast votes during daytime polling hours on Friday and another 350 people voted Friday night at Salem State University’s Enterprise Center on Loring Avenue.
“There was a line at 4 p.m.,” Simons said, waiting at the Enterprise Center Friday night. “People are excited.”
“We hope it will reduce lines on Tuesday,” she added. “I don’t know if it will make the turnout higher, but it will certainly reduce lines.”
Early voting began Oct. 22 on the North Shore and continues through Nov. 2.
Jane Ferguson of Salem cast her vote Saturday morning at a remote location set up by the city at 135 Lafayette St. Ferguson said she lived just down the street from the early voting center.
“It’s nearby,” Ferguson said. “There’s no reason for me not to vote early, and I’m moving. I wanted to cast my vote before I move to another district.”
“It’s more convenient than voting on Election Day,” said Matthew Campbell of Salem, who also voted Saturday morning on Lafayette Street.
In Peabody, City Clerk Tim Spanos said the early voter turnout was going well, but not as well as it had during the 2016 presidential election.
According to the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ website, more than 22 percent of registered voters cast an early vote in the 2016 election.
“Turnout has been pretty good, it’s been steady,” Spanos said. “It’s not as busy as the presidential election a couple years ago, but it is still steady. Hopefully a lot of people are taking advantage of it.”
About 1,800 Peabody residents voted this week, Spanos said.
“I think everyone loves coming and not having to worry about making it to the polls,” he said.
In Danvers, 1,574 people had voted as of Friday, according to Town Clerk Joe Collins. He agreed that the turnout wasn’t as strong as it had been for the 2016 presidential election, but said that seniors in particular seemed to be taking advantage of early voting.
“We have had almost half the turnout in the 2016 early voting,” he said. “The demographic of people doing the early voting, we find tends to be older folks. They don’t have to battle the Election Day crowds, and so I think they find a comfort zone in coming here.”
For Karen Joy of Rockland Road, Danvers, voting on Saturday simply worked best for her schedule.
“I work full time,” Joy said. “And this worked out for my schedule. My husband was here the other day. I thought rather than deal with parking on Tuesday night…this was perfect.”
Dale and Frank Mitchell, of Preston Street, Danvers, agreed.
“It’s definitely more convenient,” Frank Mitchell said.
“I think this option is very convenient,” Dale Mitchell agreeed. “I would certainly do it again.”
Early voting will be available at city and town halls until Nov. 2.
Kelsey Bode can be reached at (978) 338-2660 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @Kelsey_Bode.