Early voting at City Hall has remained brisk, and ballots are pouring into the City Clerk’s office daily in the U.S. Mail – all in advance of the upcoming Nov. 3 General Election, which features the hotly-contested presidential election.
Early voting began on Oct. 21 in Everett, and some 8,000 mail-in ballots were sent out earlier this month. Now, as of Tuesday, around 2,150 early, in-person votes had been recorded, and more than 3,000 mail-in ballots had been returned.
Steady streams of voters were also putting their mail-in ballots in the City’s drop boxes outside City Hall. It made for a lively, and early, begin to an extended voting season.
There are three more days of early voting, ending on Friday, Oct. 30, and Cornelio predicted they would see about 3,000 early votes cast in person. He said of the 8,000 main-in ballots sent out, he expected as many as 6,000 to be returned. And he’s still holding at about 16,000 voters turning out in the General Election.
“We have plenty of PPE and we have taken a lot of precautions for early voting in person,” said Cornelio Tuesday morning. “We’re ready, but it’s a lot of preparation. It’s been going better than I thought to tell the truth. You always worry, but it’s gone well.”
One of the wrinkles with mail-in voting, he said, is the state has required an extended three-day cut-off date for counting votes in the mail. Those voting by mail have to have their ballot postmarked by Nov. 3. State officials have required all cities and towns to extend their counting activities for three days after the election. Cornelio said that means they will have to have a special, hand-counting system for those ballots that arrive on Nov. 4, 5, and 6. The Final Results of the election will be available only after that period of time.
Cornelio has also had to employ extra poll workers to handle the mail-in system. He said about five or six poll workers are stationed in the Clerk’s Office to accept the postal ballots, process them, and then organize them so they are ready to be fed through the proper machine on Nov. 3.
One of the biggest questions that has been asked about early voting and mail-in voting is whether or not someone can change their vote.
The answer to that is ‘no.’
In previous years, those voting absentee could vote early, then come in on Election Day and invalidate their early vote, then vote differently in person on that day. However, to streamline what is already a complicated election cycle, the state is not allowing that.
Once one has voted early in-person, or mailed in their ballot or dropped it in the City Hall boxes – it’s a done deal.
“Once you early vote and once we process your mail-in ballot, that’s it,” said Cornelio. “Your choice has been made.”
The remaining times for early voting in the City Hall basement (Church Street entrance) are as follows:
•Wednesday, October 28 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
•Thursday, October 29 2:30 pm – 7:30 p.m.
•Friday, October 30 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.