Recently appointed Mansfield town clerk Marianne Staples said this year’s national election in Mansfield was extremely successful, despite numerous obstacles.
This year saw a total breakdown of one voting machine as well as glitches in two others.
“It was a marathon,” she said. “But I wasn’t alone. There’s a lot of people in between. There was the school helping to set up, the DPW helping to set up and the police doing detail and traffic… and my support staff is second to none.”
Staples said that there is a backup machine for just such occasions and the switch was made in time not to affect voter numbers.
“We had a mild glitch in one of the other machines as well,” she said. “For the most part [voters] were very patient, even when the lines got really long and it was very chaotic. People seemed to be taking it all in stride.”
About 87.5 percent of Mansfield’s 13,835 registered voters (that’s more than 12,000 residents) showed up and cast their ballot.
“Now those were active voters,” she said. “Now there was a slew of inactive voters who came in and signed affidavits that they still live here… The thing is it’s because we didn’t receive the census [data] from them and by law we have to make their voting status inactive.”
East Street was a traffic nightmare all day and the Mansfield Police and Department of Public Works showed what a bit of control can do to make everything go as smoothly as possible.
“There was a big line when we opened the polls,” Staples said. “It was steady all day long, but it wasn’t the manic craziness like it was first thing in the morning...There was traffic in here all day long.”
She added that while it was a big turnout for the town, the 1,100 plus absentee ballots was as sign to her office that this was going to be a big election.
“We kind of geared up for this,” Staples said. “We had an idea that it was going to be really high.”