The day was brimming with a steady turnout of voters, and much support for various candidates at the state and national level.

And with area communities boasting little detriment to the day's processes, most say it was a successful day with high participation for both in-person and those wanting to vote by mail.

The Nov. 3 general election brought out voters, waiting in lines often hours before polls opened to get their ballot cast for long lists of state representatives, state senators, federal legislators and the President of the United States.

In Derry, residents headed to one polling place at Pinkerton Academy, a change from having voters in all four voting districts cast ballots at multiple locations.

Making the decision to have one location was for safety purposes and to be able to handle the expected large crowd and Pinkerton's Hackler gymnasium fit the bill.

Making sure the gym was equipped to handle the expected big numbers was a challenge, but officials say the election went smoothly with minimal glitches, all while keeping a strong and safe atmosphere at the forefront of the day.

About 18,100 of Derry's more than 22,000 registered voters came out to cast ballots, including about 6,400 who voted by absentee ballot. This number topped the 2016 presidential election, in which 17,000 voted.

Polls opened at Pinkerton at 7 a.m.

"People were lined up at 5:30 a.m.," Derry Town Moderator Tina Guilford said. "There were about a hundred in line and by 6 a.m. the line already went around the building."

Guilford said about 1,300 votes were processed within the first few hours.

As part of Derry's election plan at Pinkerton, there was also a heated tent located outside the gym where people who preferred not to wear masks could vote.

Guilford said about 500 voters chose to use that space.

Guilford credited her election team for making the massive turnout a success with few glitches to report.

"We had very cooperative voters," the moderator said.

One thing that people were missing, though, was the traditional "I voted" sticker given to everyone who came out to vote.

Guilford said by not giving out the stickers, it added an extra level of coronavirus safety for voters.

"The biggest complaint was the lack of stickers," she said. "But it was to minimize as much contact as possible."

Guilford said she already posted on Facebook that voters could expect the return of stickers in March when voters cast ballots in the town election.

Derry voters gave big nods to a long list of Republican candidates running for state representative jobs in District 6, with all 10 GOP names winning the day.

The GOP also ruled in Londonderry and Windham, where the slates of Republican candidates in districts 5 and 7, respectively, took the top vote tallies. Other Republican races were won for state Senate seats including a return to the State House for incumbent Sen. Sharon Carson in District 14, and Regina Birdsell, also the incumbent, in District 19.

In Londonderry, 16,075 ballots were cast during a busy day at the polls at the Londonderry High School gym.

But one late night snag forced officials to do a recount of its vote. A malfunctioning ballot machine made it impossible for town officials to provide its results until early the next day.

Town Moderator Jonathan Kipp said the day ran flawlessly, but the technical error meant a handful of poll workers worked overnight to scan the ballots all over again.

“I feel bad for the people that had such a long day to then stay behind and do it,” Kipp said. “But we owe it to the people and we respect the process.”

Polls closed at 8 p.m. at Londonderry High School, and an estimated 16,000 ballots, including mail-in ballots, were sealed and sent off site to the town vault by the time officials realized one of four ballot machines was not supplying the ticker tape of results.

Kipp said the data on the memory card of the machine appeared to be corrupted.

Londonderry Town Clerk Sherry Farrell said when the machine glitch happened, the town's election officials worked hard to make the vote count transparent and ready.

She said some technology often isn't aging well, and the memory card problem forced not only a recount but brought a lot of good work into action.

"It's the camaraderie," Farrell said. "We all decided let's get this done."

Farrell said those working the polls rallied into the early morning hours to count and then release the unofficial, preliminary results for Londonderry.

"Everything was transparent and accurate and that was our goal," she said.

She credited all who helped bring Londonderry's election day to a successful conclusion.

"That's what we strive for," she said.

In Windham, that community also saw big numbers of its 10,000 registered checklist come out to cast ballots at Windham High School.

The Granite State News Collaborative contributed to this story.

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