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Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Clayton to look into extending polling hours

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  • The topic of polling hours was discussed at the Clayton Town Council meeting Monday night.
    Resident Howard Blackstone, who lost in the April 30 election, requested the town look into extending election polling hours from 2 to 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Blackstone said the current polling hours don't give residents that commute out of state for work a chance to vote.
    Blackstone said that a lot of the newer residents in town leave for work before voting hours start during elections and get home once polls are closed.
    "The 2 to 7 p.m. polling hours are set up to disenfranchise us," Blackstone said.
    Furthermore, Blackstone said he is going to do a petition in order to see if other residents in town also want extended polling hours.
    Letterman said the town is looking into it but can't simply vote to extend polling hours because the change would need to be made in the town's charter, which would also need approval by the General Assembly. He also pointed out that longer polling hours mean more costs to the town due to polling machines and increased staffing.
    Letterman also pointed out that residents unable to vote because of work can vote via absentee ballots.
    Both Letterman and Horn pointed out other towns, such as Smyrna, have extended polling hours but haven't necessarily seen an increase in voting.
    "We wanted to have some information so we looked into what our neighbors did," Horn said. "Other towns said they didn't get more votes."
    Blackstone suggested a committee be formed, but Horn said that can't be done until the reorganization in June.
    Carrow said due to the change in demographics in town it would only be fair to residents in the town to look into the possible change.
    Email Jennifer Dailey at jennifer.dailey@doverpost.com.
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