It looked a lot like Tuesday inside Springfield City Hall this morning. Besides the date, the only real difference from today and tomorrow is that these voters are casting absentee ballots.
“Before our doors opened, we had 15 people standing outside, waiting from the hour of 8:30 a.m.,” says Springfield Election Commissioner Gladys Oyola. “We actually opened a little earlier to let them come in and let them vote.”
Their absentee ballots had to be in by noon. Today, Antoinette McGraw got hers in with just minutes to spare.
“I’m actually going to be flying out of town tomorrow,”says McGraw. “Because it landed like that, I need to put my vote in.”
It’s one of the three legitimate reasons why voters can cast their ballots, in person, before Election Day. Early voting isn’t allowed in Massachusetts unless a voter will be out of town, incapacitated, or their religious beliefs prohibit them from voting on November 6th.
But, Oyola knows that some voters are bending those rules.
“Personally, in my opinion, I’d rather see someone vote early than not vote at all,” says Oyola. “So if they can come down to their town hall or city hall, I think that a lot city and town clerks would err on the side of saying that they want people to vote.”
Election officials say, if Massachusetts were to implement early voting — similar to other states — it would probably get a pretty positive response.
“It’s successful in other states, so I think the trend, it looks like it would shift in Massachusetts, eventually, if we get enough grounds,” says Oyola. “The voters seem to be receptive to it — they seem to want it — so we just have to wait and see whether or not the state will implement it.”
Since early voting isn’t allowed, election officials can’t actually start processing absentee ballots until tomorrow. That means we’ll have to wait a bit longer to get those final numbers.