Extra Democratic Ballots Needed
Updated 4:36 p.m.
By John Solomon
The predictions for a big turnout in New Hampshire's primary -- especially on the Democratic side -- were materializing this afternoon as numerous town clerks began expressing concerns they were running low on ballots and summoned more forms from state election officials. The secretary of state's office said it received several calls for extra Democratric ballots during the day, but that no locations had run out.
As a precaution, the Secretary of State's office sent more ballots -- known as overruns -- to several of the requesting towns. In addition, clerks were told that if they ran low at the end of the day, they could use leftover absentee ballots or make copies of the forms, so that all voters could cast ballots, officials said.
"We planned for this and as of right now it is going on 4:30 pm, we have not heard of any places that have run out," Deputy Secretary of State David M. Scanlan said. "And we have procedures in place to deal with it if it does happen."
Secretary of State Bill Gardner has been predicting today's vote could draw a record 500,000 residents -- 100,000 more than the previous high -- as Democrat Barack Obama and a rejuvenated Republican John McCain energized voters in the state in the days since Iowa's caucuses recorded large turnouts. Scanlan said early turnout reports seem to validate his boss's prediction.
"It looks like it's certainly going along the line of Secretary of State Gardner's prediction," he said.
New Hampshire officials said that it was not uncommon for some towns to run low on ballot supplies but that the sheer number of clerks with concerns this time around was a sign of large turnout on the Democratic side. "The extra ballots we have shipped have been mostly Democrat," Scanlan said.
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