NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. — Since he started working in Northborough in 2004, Town Clerk Andy Dowd has made regular trips to Algonquin Regional High School to register eligible students to vote.
"I try to do it every year," Dowd said while sitting at a table outside the Algonquin cafeteria Thursday. "Sometimes several times a year, depending on the elections."
Given the hype surrounding this year’s presidential election — not to mention the high-profile Senate race and two controversial ballot questions — Dowd is expecting a high voter turnout in Northborough. "I'm hoping we’ll hit close to 90 percent," he said. The town saw an 86 percent turnout in 2008 and an 83.5 percent turnout in 2004, Dowd said.
Voters must turn 18 on or before Nov. 6 to be eligible to vote, so not every Algonquin senior could register Thursday. Still, Dowd picked up about two dozen registration forms from Northborough and Southborough students, which he will return to the respective town halls.
He also picked up forms from two teachers — one who had recently moved and another who had changed her name.
"Anything to make it easier for them," Dowd said.
One of the most common questions Dowd faces comes from those who are unsure of their registration status. "A lot of people who vote every four years say, ‘I’m not sure if I’m registered.'"
"Better to check now," he added.
Though any eligible resident can register at Town Hall, Dowd believes there is an advantage to his booth's visibility.
As groups of students passed him on their way to class, one girl, eying the sign, turned to her friend.
"Hey," she said. "Did you register to vote?"