DERRY — The town's moderator said the recent midterm election Nov. 6 sparked big voter turnout amid some parking and traffic snarls that will be addressed for future elections.
Town Moderator Mary Till came before the Town Council Dec. 4 to give a brief update on the election and how the events of the day progressed between the community's two polling places at Gilbert H. Hood Middle School and West Running Brook Middle School.
School was in session that day but a traditional third polling location at Calvary Bible Church for the town's District 2 voters was not used.
Having only two locations for voting did cause some traffic and parking issues for the more than 11,500 voters who came out to cast ballots that day, Till said.
"And despite the steady rain, we had plenty of enthusiasm among voters," Till told councilors.
The turnout was big, the moderator said, with an impressive number comparatively to the 2014 midterm with 10,000 ballots cast and in 2010, when about 9,000 voters came out.
The number almost ran equal to what Derry voting numbers were for the 2016 presidential primary election when about 11,700 voters headed to the polls.
"It was more than we thought," Till said.
And amid the traffic and parking issues at both middle school polling spots, Till said there was a lot of great work and help done in the community to make voting go as smoothly as possible.
That included school and police officials handling any parking issues on site and adding additional lanes at West Running Brook for voters to enter the school grounds.
"Without that help, it would have been a real nightmare," Till said.
Looking forward to future elections, Till said there are ideas and options now being considered including bringing back the third polling location at Calvary Bible Church, or bringing on volunteers from the town's CERT team to help handle polling issues like traffic control.
The volunteer trained emergency team will be put to use in the upcoming town election in March as a type of training tool for what is to come when the bigger elections happen in 2020, the moderator said.
Till said the Derry police may also consider putting an official town ordinance forward with specific rules needing to be following for election day parking and traffic patterns.
Improved messaging around town to help direct voters in the four districts to the correct polling location will also be put in place, Till said.
"We want to continually improve the experience for the voters," Till said, adding feedback on ways to do things better are always welcome.