There was an early morning chill in the air, some wind and an occasional snow flurry.

But that didn't keep voters in southern New Hampshire from coming out Tuesday to cast ballots in-person early on election day, even if lines were long and traffic flow got a bit snarled along the way.

Derry voters in all four of the community's voting districts used a single polling location for the general election at Pinkerton Academy which, officials say, is the state's largest single polling location and possibly the nation's largest.

And even before daybreak, with polls not opening in Derry until 7 a.m., people started lining up in front of Pinkerton's Hackler gymnasium.

Derry Town Moderator Tina Guilford said the voting layout at Pinkerton was safe and included all the necessary measures like social distancing, hand sanitizer, plexiglass and the addition of a heated tent outside the gym for voters who chose not to wear masks.

Voting inside the gymnasium required a mask, following Pinkerton's rules for wearing masks while on campus. School was not in session Tuesday.

"Polling places are prepared," Guilford said.

There were also specific traffic patterns directing voters onto the Pinkerton campus from Tsienneto Road. Bypass 28 traffic was redirected and police were on site to enforce the rules.

But Tuesday morning some traffic knots made navigation of the usually busy Derry traffic circle near Pinkerton a bit more congested for many hoping to head up Bypass 28 past Pinkerton to either vote or head to other areas.

By noon, the rotary seemed a bit more manageable.

Comments on social media throughout the morning, kept voters updated on how long the lines were.

Melanie Davis, the owner of The Grind Rail Trail Cafe in downtown Derry, posted that she delivered some coffee mid-morning to poll workers at Pinkerton and the line currently "wraps and wraps" around the building. Others said they came and spent time in a fast-moving line and that polling operations were going smoothly.

Derry voters faced a ballot filled with not only the national races, but also a long list of state representative candidates to consider, along with a state Senate race for District 19 with incumbent Sen. Regina Birdsell of Hampstead being challenged for the job by Derry Town Councilor Joshua Bourdon.

Guilford said she expected about 19,000 votes to be cast on election day in Derry. And voters could expect a good, safe experience when they arrived at Pinkerton to vote. In 2016, about 17,000 Derry voters cast ballots in the general election.

Add in about 5,000 absentee ballots submitted and Guilford said Derry would make a good showing.

Derry has about 25,000 registered voters and would add more to the checklist on election day as new voters signed up.

And the polls were safe, the moderator said, adding anyone in line at 7:55 p.m. right before polls close at 8 p.m. would still have the opportunity to vote.

Many new faces also signed up to help work the primary election, taking over for the older workers who were not comfortable working all day at the polls.

That included several Pinkerton Academy students stepping up to learn the process and be involved.

"That's been very helpful," Guilford said.

Derry resident Rebecca Sanborn voted by absentee but still honored the day Tuesday, wearing her Ruth Bader Ginsburg distressed collar earrings and a red, white and blue outfit.

"This election, I was hesitant to vote in person due to COVID, but there was no way I was missing out on making my voice heard, so I voted absentee," Sanborn said. "I believe, as Rep. John Lewis said, that your vote is 'precious, almost sacred' and I think that is true in this presidential election more than ever."

Londonderry voters coming out to the polls at Londonderry High's gymnasium Tuesday were able to grab disinfectant wipes and masks, if needed, and were then directed as to which way to go to vote, and then following additional signs to exit the building, all in a one-way pattern of flow.

Other safety guidelines included plenty of hand sanitizer, masks and plexiglass dividers between voters and poll workers.

And voting booths were disinfected regularly after residents exited the space.

Londonderry Town Clerk Sherry Farrell and her clerks and workers, spent all day Monday doing a pre-processing of absentee ballots, making sure they were correctly signed and notifying anyone that may have submitted a ballot with a problem.

"People came in to fix any errors," Farrell said. "We want voters to have any opportunity."

Londonderry saw upwards of 6,100 mail-in ballot requests.

The town could not, by law, start officially processing those ballots until one hour after polls were open Tuesday but absentee ballots would be accepted until 5 p.m. on election day.

And once doors opened in Londonderry at 6 a.m., Farrell said they were ready to make sure all went smoothly during this "unprecedented time in history."

Windham voters cast ballots at Windham High off London Bridge Road, and many residents commented on social media that lines were a bit long about two hours into the day, but were moving quickly.

Windham officials expected a hefty turnout of in-person voting Tuesday, with voters also choosing four state representatives, a state senator for District 19 and various other county and state officials in addition to the national races.

At noon, a line of cars snaked out from the high school onto Route 111, but the flow moved quickly and lines also were processed at a good pace once voters got inside the gymnasium

Windham officials said about 4,200 absentee ballots had been processed by that time, with about 10,700 registered voters on the community's checklist.

Longtime Windham Selectman Roger Hohenberger was doing "runner" duty, being available to help voters not wearing masks to cast their ballots in a separate spot near the gym's entrance.

"It's been very smooth," he said, adding people were lined up early when polls opened at 7 a.m., but lines were moving swiftly since.

Hohenberger added in his 21 years serving on the Board of Selectmen, he hasn't seen a turnout like this.

"It's phenomenal," he said. "It's the most I've seen, and it's great to see their right to exercise their right to vote. And it's been very, very civil."

Visit derrynews.com for election results and other updates.

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