Election officials in seven Berkshire communities have doubled their efforts to ensure voters won't have to work twice as hard to cast ballots in today's elections.

North Adams, Dalton, Lee, Lenox, Hancock Richmond and Williamstown are among 71 Massachusetts municipalities holding local elections during today's statewide special U.S. Senate primary. The cities and towns took advantage of the opportunity to combine their annual spring elections with the special primary to fill the Senate seat left by John Kerry.

Two Democrats and three Republicans are seeking their party's nomination for the June 25 special general election to determine who will succeed Kerry, who resigned this winter to become U.S. secretary of state.

In North Adams, voters will decide a controversial ballot question of whether or not the city should spend $29.7 million to renovate Conte Middle School.

City and town clerks managing dual elections say they'll have two tables set up -- one each for voters to obtain separate primary and local election ballots.

"The tables will be side-by-side, clearly marked and color-coded," said North Adams City Clerk Marilyn Gomeau. "However, everyone will have to wait in a single line, whether they vote in one or both elections."

Lee Town Clerk Suzanne Scarpa plans to have on-site instructions to guide the town's electorate.

"I will have a diagram showing the separate check-in tables and check-out tables to make it easier for the voters," she said.

While Lee is using two electronic voting machines -- one for each ballot -- most communities such as Lenox have programmed a single machine to tabulate the results of both elections.

"We did test it, so we know it works," said Lenox Town Clerk Jen Picard.

Dalton, Lee and North Adams officials expect the local election will drive voter turnout there, since primaries alone, especially special ones, typically see less than 20 percent of registered voters casting ballots.

In addition to the ballot question in North Adams, Dalton and Lee have high-profile races for their respective boards of selectmen. Lenox election officials anticipate two write-in candidates will vie for a vacant seat on the town's school committee.

As for the Senate primary, U.S. Reps. Edward Markey and Stephen Lynch are seeking the Democratic Party endorsement. The Republican primary is a three-way race between former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, private equity investor Gabriel Gomez, and state Rep. Daniel Winslow.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.

If you vote ...

• Polls open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

• Voters registered in the Democratic or Republican party can only cast ballots in that party's primary.

• Unenrolled voters must choose which party primary to vote in after arriving at the polls.

• All registered voters are eligible to vote in municipal elections being held.

Polling places

Here are polling places by town in Berkshire County, along with the number of the town or city hall that residents should call with any questions or concerns.

 

Adams: Department of Public Works garage, 92 N. Summer St.; 743-8320.

Alford: Town Hall, 5 Alford Center Road; 528-4536.

Becket: Town Hall, 557 Main St.; 623-8934, ext. 11.

Cheshire: Senior Center, 119 School St.; 743-1690.

Clarksburg: Senior Center; 663-8255.

Dalton: Community Center, 400 Main St.; 684-6111.

Egremont: Fire Station, 175 Egremont Plain Road; 528-0182, ext. 11.

Florida: Town Office, 379 Mohawk Trail; 664-6685.

Great Barrington: (528-3140, ext. 3.)

Precincts A, C, D: Fire Station, State Road.

Precinct B (Housatonic): Community Center, Main Street.

Hancock: Hancock School, Route 43; 738-5225.

Hinsdale: Town Hall, 39 South St.; 655-2301.

Lanesborough: Town Hall, 83 North Main St.; 442-1351.

Lee: Crossway Village, 21 Crossway; 243-5505.

Lenox: Town Hall, 6 Walker St.; 637-5506.

Monterey: Fire Hall, 417 Main Road; 528-5175.

Mount Washington: Town Hall, 118 East St.; 528-2839.

New Ashford: Town Hall, 199 Mallory Road; 458-5461

New Marlborough: Town Hall, 807 Mill River Southfield Road; 229-8278.

North Adams (662-3015) ...

Ward 1, 2, 3, 5: St. Elizabeth's Parish Center, St. Anthony Drive.

Ward 4: Greylock School, Upper Phelps Avenue Entrance

Otis: Town Hall, 1 N. Main St.; 269-0101.

Peru: Community Center, 3 E. Main Road; 655-8312.

Pittsfield (499-9460) Š

Ward 1, Precincts A & B : Reid School, 950 North St.

Ward 2, Precinct A: Morningside School, 100 Burbank St.

Ward 2, Precinct B: Fire station, Somerset Avenue.

Ward 3, Precinct A: Providence Court, 379 East St.

Ward 3, Precinct B: Egremont School, 84 Egremont Ave.

Ward 4, Precinct A: Herberg School, 501 Pomeroy Ave.

Ward 4, Precinct B: Williams School, 50 Bushey Road

Ward 5, Precinct A: Masonic Temple, 116 South St.

Ward 5, Precinct B: Fire station, 311 W. Housatonic St.

Ward 6, Precinct A: Columbus Arms, 65 Columbus Ave.

Ward 6, Precinct B: Conte School, 200 W. Union St.

Ward 7, Precinct A: Fire station, 54 Peck's Road.

Ward 7, Precinct B: Capeless School, 86 Brooks Ave.

Richmond: Town Hall, 1529 State Road, Richmond; 698-3315.

Sandisfield: Old Town Hall, 3 Silverbrook Road; 258-4170.

Savoy: Senior Center, 720 Main Road; 743-3759.

Sheffield: Senior Center, 25 Cook Road; 229-8752.

Stockbridge: Town Offices, 50 Main St.; 298-4170.

Tyringham: Town Hall, 116 Main Road; 243-2999.

Washington: Town Hall, 8 Summit Hill Road; 623-2185.

W. Stockbridge: Village School, 21 State Line Road; 232-0300.

Williamstown: Elementary School, 115 Church St.; 458-9341.

Windsor: Town Hall, 1890 Route 9; 684-3811.