$5K grant to help Northfield prep for election

  • Poll worker Sandy Campbell, left, checks in a voter in Northfield Town Hall during the annual town election in July. A $5,000 grant the town has received will help it prepare for the Nov. 3 general election. Staff File Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 10/15/2020 2:27:47 PM

NORTHFIELD — A $5,000 grant from the non-profit Center for Tech and Civic Life will help the town prepare for the Nov. 3 general election.

Town Administrator Andrea Llamas explained this grant will cover additional postage, as Town Clerk Dan Campbell’s office is sending out more mail than was previously budgeted for. It will also help cover paying additional poll workers and help Campbell’s office organize early voting and mail-in ballots.

“They just received the ballots today, so people will start getting them in the mail,” Llamas said Monday. “They prepped a lot of it, envelopes and stickers and labels, but just hundreds and hundreds of them have to be done.”

According to a letter from the Center for Tech and Civic Life acknowledging the award, the grant money must be used by Dec. 31. The nonprofit focuses on civic election work.

The letter explains the money can be used for poll worker recruitment, hazard pay, training expenses, temporary staffing and election administration equipment.

The town is also required to produce a brief report documenting what the money was spent on. In addition to hiring more poll workers, Campbell said he was looking into purchasing “Poll Pads,” an Apple-designed iPad with advanced security technologies and software, to help speed up check-in at the polls.

“They’re like a little iPad,” Campbell said. “That would be in lieu of doing the heavy list, and this allows for a couple different things.”

He said the “Polls Pads” would allow residents to type in their name on the touchpad, or slide their ID like a credit card to check in. With a total of 2,995 residents, Northfield has 2,362 active voters. About 1,500 of these voters are unenrolled (meaning they are not registered as either a Democrat or a Republican).

Campbell said he is not sure what to expect for an in-person turnout on Nov. 3, as he is receiving new mail-in or absentee ballots each day.

“Right now we’ve got close to probably 800 absentee ballots coming in,” Campbell said on Tuesday.

For the state primary election in September, Campbell estimated the town received 559 ballots by mail, noting these were a combination of early voting and absentee ballots. He said residents can apply for an absentee ballot for the Nov. 3 general election until Oct. 26. They may request one by contacting Campbell at 413-498-2901, ext. 112 or townclerk@northfieldma.gov.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.

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