Photo by Ryan Mooney
Voters in certain sections of Peabody are being greeted with more than ballots and booths at their local polling centers.
Members of the Class of 2014 at Peabody Veteran's Memorial High School, which is the voting station for residents of Ward 4, Precinct 3, are attempting to capitalize on the thousands of potential voters walking through their doors today by holding a bake sale to raise money for the class. The students are offering a wide variety of homemade baked goods, as well as coffee and donuts from Dunkin' Donuts, to raise money for the class, and according to multiple accounts, it's going well so far.
"They're going to be there all day," said Kevin Donovan, an election warden for the city.
Adult voters in Peabody presumably brushed up on the issues surrounding this election months ago, but the city is also using today as a way to educate children on the electoral process.
From 3 p.m. until the polls close at 8, children accompanying their parents to the high school can cast their "votes" for the next president, as well as members of Congress, using mock ballots with pictures and descriptions of the candidates.
Donovan says that the real voting at PVMHS is going smoothly. He described a more "organized" process than he saw in 2008, with less "misdirection" and confusion among voters surrounding the process.
Donovan also said that the voter turnout, as of about 11:30 this morning, was outpacing that of 2008. The precinct went through redistricting since the last election, so the hard number of voters so far has been less, but in terms of percentage of registered voters coming out, Donovan estimates a better turnout.
Over at Welch Elementary School, voters from Precincts 1 and 2 in Ward 2 were not greeted by students with coffee and donuts this morning, but by health officials with needles.
From 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., the city's Board of Health was offering free flu vaccinations at the polling center as part of the national "Vote and Vax" program, which was announced last week in Peabody. The project, which was launched in 1996, is a non-partisan, non-political national public health strategy, aimed at increasing the number of Americans who receive a vaccination against the flu virus by putting convenient clinics at or near polling centers on Election Day.
According to the Health Department, there were over 20,000 flu vaccinations administered at 331 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia on Election Day in 2008.
City Hall did not yet have hard numbers as of this afternoon, the individual wards and precincts don't report numbers throughout the day, but Marilyn Limongiello in the city clerk's office reported good news regarding city-wide voter turnout, albeit through the grapevine.
"From what we're hearing from the wards and precincts, its been heavy," she said.