Westport Legion Hall to remain as polling place despite small size

Absentee voting encouraged at all polling places

Posted 5/22/20

WESTPORT — It will be tight, but Westport officials agreed Wednesday that it makes more sense to keep Precinct A voting at the American Legion Hall on Sanford Road rather than try to find …

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Westport Legion Hall to remain as polling place despite small size

Absentee voting encouraged at all polling places

Posted

WESTPORT — It will be tight, but Westport officials agreed Wednesday that it makes more sense to keep Precinct A voting at the American Legion Hall on Sanford Road rather than try to find another location at this late date.

Selectmen held a brief meeting Wednesday afternoon to confirm that decision.

Previously, the board had agreed to keep the five usual polling places for the June 23 town election as they are — American Legion Hall, Town Hall Annex, Macomber School, Briggs Road Fire Station, and Westport High School.

But on closer look, Health Director Matt Armendo and Town Clerk Bernadette Oliver said the American Legion Hall’s small size will make it more difficult to keep voters safely apart.

Moving the location, however, would also be a challenge since it would require notifying every voter by mail and other methods.

Mr. Armendo said several steps could be taken including renting a tent to either place a sign-in table outside or perhaps to shelter waiting voters in case of bad weather.

Numbers at Precinct A are not typically all that great — last year’s town election drew 264 voters, and already a number of Precinct A voters have requested absentee ballots.

Town Administrator Tim King agreed to meet with Mr. Armendo and Ms. Oliver to work out details, including finding people to cleanse voting booths after each use.

For the future, officials intend to look into the use of nearby Our Lady of Grace Church which has a large gym, bathroom and kitchen, and whose priest has said he would welcome use of the church as a voting place.

Above all, officials urged residents at every polling place to vote absentee to avoid crowding at polling places.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.