Swarming the Polls
By Juliet Eilperin
NASHUA, N.H. -- If anyone needed an indication of whether New Hampshire turnout is up this year, all they had to do is observe the line outside Ward 1's doors at 5:45 a.m., 15 minutes before the polls opened here.
"There were fifty-seven people in line," said Pat Chadwick, the ward's moderator, who runs the polls on Election Day. "It's very high compared to past years."
Ward 1, Nashua's biggest polling station, has 6,005 registered voters. Or it did until today -- by mid-morning another 88 voters had registered. In the first 15 minutes alone, 106 voters managed to cast their ballots, and by 10:25 a.m. a total of 1,300 had voted, more than a fifth of the ward's total registrants.
Chadwick's only complaint? The entourages of GOP presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and John McCain, who both stopped by this morning, kept some voters from casting their ballots, as did sign-carrying supporters from an array of campaigns since they took up crucial parking spaces.
"There's nothing wrong with coming here and carrying a sign," said Chadwick, an elected official. "They're not here voting and they're taking the spot of a voter. That's not great because it's impeding on the process."
But Chadwick took comfort in the fact that several voters who couldn't get into the polls early this morning had returned a few hours later. "They're coming back," she said.
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