Monday November 5, 2012

NEAL P. GOSWAMI

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- The town of Bennington is again offering early-bird voting to accommodate some voters and reduce wait times later in the day.

Bennington Town Clerk Timothy Corcoran said the polls will open in Bennington and North Bennington at 5 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Those longer hours were first used in the 2008 presidential election and helped accommodate more voters, he said.

"The benefit is that some people will vote between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. We emphasize no lines. We have maybe 600 people vote between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m., that’s 600 people that aren’t there later in the day," he said.

As a result, there is "very rarely" a wait for local voters, according to Corcoran.

"Waiting should not be a problem at all," he said.

Voter turnout should be fairly high because of the presidential contest, Corcoran said. However, early voting has not been any higher than previous elections, he said.

"I don’t think that the numbers are really up that much because they pushed it two years ago. Both campaigns have sent out mailings," he said.

New registrations are up, however, which could indicate a high turnout, Corcoran said.

Local voters can also access some health services at the polling locations on Tuesday. Corcoran said two registered nurses will be at Bennington’s Firehouse polling spot to provide blood pressure checks and flu shots. People with Medicare and Medicaid will receive the services for free. There will be a small fee for others, but nobody will be turned away if they cannot afford it, according to Corcoran.