Candidate easy recognize with tel-tale wheels

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here are Election Day observations from a Telegraph reporter who visited polling places across Greater Nashua.

The marching-band music is temporarily silenced, but still the highly recognizable green Subaru Outback with the flashing amber “Kojak” beacon and big yellow campaign sign on the roof is stationed just inside the parking lot of Nashua’s Ward 1 polls. If you’ve been anywhere in the Nashua, Milford, Hollis or Brookline areas the past few weeks, you know what that means – Democrat-turned-independent Betty B. Hall is here.

The second hour of voting began in the city’s most populous ward in brisk fashion now that the initial rush calmed a bit, say several poll workers. The last time this roving blogger clicked off a dispatch from this location, Gov. Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain – the latter riding in his “Straight Talk Express” bus – were rallying the primary election crowds back in January.

A few minutes have passed since we spotted the famous Betty-mobile, but still no sign of Betty; so we’re off to find her and promise to report back very shortly.


Main Dunstable out in force

Hold onto your hats, ladies and gentlemen: Today’s voting turnout looks like one for the ages.

Whitford Road and the access lanes to Main Dunstable Elementary School looked like an inbound hurricane evacuation route as the 6 a.m. “first bell” for Election Day 2008 sounded at the Ward 5 polling place.

Indeed, as soon as drivers found a parking space – along curbing, on the grass, even way out on the main road itself – a thick queue took shape as fast and smoothly as if there had been several rehearsals. In minutes, an estimated 300 people had assembled in front of the school’s main doorways.

“But it’s a good thing,” said Margie Harrington, who stood in line with her husband, Dick. “When we got here, the line was almost out to the street,” Dick added, gesturing toward Whitford Road.

For the unfamiliar, well, just take our word for it – that’s quite a ways.


Ward 8 also busy

Not surprisingly, the massive early turnout at Nashua’s Ward 5 was no fluke – drive-by observations of two other Nashua wards produced the same results.

At Bicentennial Elementary School, the city’s Ward 8 polling place, the stream of voters hustling to and fro alternately swells and thins, but never does the end of the line disappear from outside view.

So which candidates are all these people so anxious to cast their ballots for? That, of course, remains to be seen. What is obvious is there’ll be plenty of votes to count.


City smooth, Hudson hectic

Nashua City Clerk Paul Bergeron arrived at Ward 1 just before 8 a.m., busy but composed, checking parking conditions before going in to the Broad Street Elementary School to see how poll workers are doing.

“From what I’ve seen so far the clerks are very prepared,” he said, expressing his pleasure with how organized and smooth things seem to be going so far. “They knew there would be a big turnout and they’re ready,” he added.

Outside, a series of stalwart, familiar faces dotted the lineup of campaigners greeting the steady stream of voters. State representative candidate Don Dyer, a one-time city alderman and public works commissioner was there, next to George and Claire McHugh, who have called Ward 1 home for many years.

“We started here at 5:30,” George said, propping up a large McCain-Palin sign. “You should have seen the crowd when (the polls) opened.”

“This is a serious election,” added Claire.

Cathy Cardamone was still marveling over the turnout. “They were parked over on Lutheran Drive,” she said. “I’ve never seen it like that before.”

Next in line came state Senate candidate Peggy Gilmour, the recently retired head of Home Health and Hospice who decided to give public service a try. “This is good for our country,” she said, scanning the waves of voters passing the line enroute to the polls. “It’s a very nice sight to see.”