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Belmont's Vote Could Hit All-Time High

General election could match, top 85 percent voter participation in 2008.

Throughout the final day to register to vote in the Nov. 6 election this Wednesday, Oct. 17, six or seven residents were lined up at the Town Clerk's Office.

"Am I registered to vote? Can I vote early? I've learned that I'm a 'non-active' voter; what does that mean?"

For Belmont's Town Clerk Ellen Cushman, the interest in the coming General Election is directly related to the increase in activity in her first-floor office in Belmont Town Hall.

"It was pretty busy all day with people coming in and those on the phone," said Cushman. "It was a constant flow that had a little bit of desperation."

Cushman said the pre-election activity is the same if not a bit busier than in 2008 when 85 percent of Belmont's 14,000 voters would take out ballots at the town's eight precinct, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who with his wife, Ann, will be voting at Precinct 3 in the Beech Street Center. 

Yesterday, nearly 100 residents registered to vote, said Cushman, pointing to people knowing of the final day to get on the ballot through the media, the town's website and the Belmont Police Department's message board on Concord Avenue.

In fact, three non-residents – from Everett, Ashland and Somerville – stopped in Belmont and dropped off their registration at the Clerk's Office because they believed they could not get home by the 8 p.m. deadline.

Cushman said that election interest can be seen with the number of voters who won't be in town on Nov. 6. The Town Clerk's office has sent a record 1,000 absentee ballots to residents and have received 122 as of Monday, Oct. 15, as 30 to 40 come in every day in the mail.

Additionally, 180 ex-pats and overseas military residents have asked to vote via e-mail, nearly double the 100 which requested ballots in 2008.

The best indication of public interest in the election is that 4,000 residents whose registration had become "inactive" – they had not submitted their town census report – have updated their information.

Currently, 2,700 "inactive" voters will still be required to provide identification and fill in the census report at the precinct on election day.

In preparation of Nov. 6, Cushman will be holding training for any resident who would like to volunteer on election day on Oct. 29. Registered voters and students between 16 to 18 can volunteer.

Any questions about voting or if you want to volunteer on Nov. 6, contract the Town Clerk's office at 617-993-2600.

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