BOSTON By mid-afternoon Tuesday, voter turnout for the U.S. Senate special general election is reported as brisk in many cities and towns across Massachusetts.
In Boston by 3 p.m., 23 percent of the city’s registered voters — 88,112 residents — had cast ballots. Boston election officials predict twice as many people will turn out Tuesday as did in December’s party primaries.
As of 3:30 p.m., a Quincy election official described a “brisk voting day.” A Framingham official spoke of “huge numbers” of voters. Worcester’s turnout was described as “medium to heavy.” New Bedford was called “very busy” and Fitchburg “busy.”
Secretary of State William Galvin predicts statewide turnout will amount to between 40 and 55 percent — higher than usual for a non-presidential election on a snowy January day.
“We’ve been in touch with many of our city and town clerks to monitor turnout,” Galvin said. “They uniformly tell us that turnout is brisk, that interest is strong.”
He continued: “We’re particularly seeing a high level of interest in some of the suburban communities. Traditionally cities tend to vote somewhat later. But we have seen a number of communities (with) lines, and people standing in lines, very patiently, in the snow.”
Earlier Tuesday, Galvin said his office had sent out 105,000 absentee ballots and that he noticed a marked increase in voter inquiries as the race heated up in the past week.
The three candidates voted earlier Tuesday, with Democrat Attorney General Martha Coakley voting in Medford, Republican state Sen. Scott Brown voting in Wrentham and independent candidate Joseph L. Kennedy voting in Dedham.
Polls close at 8 p.m.