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Select Board to help out at polls in 2020

By Susan Mustapich | Nov 25, 2019
Photo by: Susan Mustapich Town Clerk Katrina Oakes left, and Election Warden Peter Gross, put in a long day during the 2016 presidential election, tallying write-in votes long after the polls close.

CAMDEN — Select Board members will pitch in to help out at the polls next year, at least for the March 2020 primary election.

High voter turnout is anticipated for the March primaries and November presidential election.

The help is not exactly what was asked for by town clerk Katrinia Oakes, but will solve a problem she described in a memo to finance director Jodi Hanson.

Camden's voting booths are over 20 years old, use a lot of storage space and are time consuming to assemble and disassemble, according to Oakes. Some of the shelves in the booths, which voters lean on when filling in their ballots, are no longer functioning, she explained.

Oakes proposed that new voting booths be purchase, and has found a model she has heard is popular with other town clerks. Each booth has  four voting compartments.The compartments are separated by partitions, but open at the back, with no curtains.

According to the manufacturer, the booths are accessible to people with disabilities and the units require no assembly or disassembly. The cost is $880 per booth. Oakes proposed the booths could be purchased for the November elections, when high voter turnout is expected.

Select Board members, who discussed the request Nov. 19, were uncertain that they, or voters, would like the open style of the booths. They want to see different options and prices ranges, in order to put a proposal together for the 2020-21 municipal budget.

Board member Alison McKellar suggested that the entire board help with the booths for the March primaries. Board members agreed this is a good idea, and an interim solution for the time consuming set up and take down of the existing voting booths.




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