Early voting slow going in Northampton

  • Northampton City Hall GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 9/17/2021 5:21:20 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Voters can now request early ballots from the city clerk’s office for the Sept. 28 preliminary election, which will narrow the field of candidates in races for mayor and City Council at-large.

City Clerk Pamela Powers said that the request rate has been slow so far; her office has processed fewer than 500 requests out of 21,000 registered voters in the city. Ahead of the presidential election in 2020, about 9,300 voters requested early ballots.

There is only one authorized ballot drop box in the city — outside City Hall at 210 Main St. — and voters can use it to drop off request forms in addition to their election day ballots. The box is open Monday through Friday from 8:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

The city clerk’s office called Northampton police on Thursday to report that the sign on the drop box had been stolen. Powers said staff noticed almost immediately, and the sign was quickly replaced.

“People should be confident that the box is secure,” Powers said.

The candidates for a four-year term as mayor are Gina-Louise Sciarra, Roy Martin, Shanna Fishel and Marc Warner. Two will advance to the general election on Nov. 2. A fifth candidate, Rosechana Gordon, will appear on the preliminary ballot even though she dropped out of the race last month.

The candidates for two City Council at-large seats are Michael Quinlan, David Murphy, Marissa Elkins, Jamila Gore and Michelle Serra. Voters will eliminate one candidate in the preliminary.

The application for an early ballot, and detailed instructions for marking and submitting it, are available on the city clerk’s website. No ballots will be accepted after polls close at 8 p.m. on election day.

In July, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill allowing no-excuse early voting in all Massachusetts elections through Dec. 15 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Voters can confirm that their ballot has been received by the clerk’s office by checking the Track My Ballot feature on the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website.

Early in-person voting will be offered from Sept. 21-24, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Senior Center, 67 Conz St.

Anyone with questions can call the city clerk’s office at 413-587-1089 or e-mail voting@northamptonma.gov.

Brian Steele can be reached at bsteele@gazettenet.com.


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