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High Voter Turnout Across Massachusetts

Voters across the state appear to be turning out in big numbers this Election Day.

Election officials in Boston say about a quarter of registered voters — 86,000 people — had already been to the polls by 3 p.m.

In smaller communities, town officials also say turnout is higher than usual.

"We've already surpassed our Primary Day turnout from September," said Quincy City Clerk Joseph Shea, "and I think we're going to end up about 60 percent for the day, maybe 62 (percent)."

In Acton, precinct warden Gail Sawyer says she had 35 percent turnout by 2 p.m.

"I know I'll have a lot more coming in later," she said. "But at this point right now, it's pretty good."

By noon, one precinct in Shrewsbury had three times the number of voters it had on all of Primary Day. Officials there reported voter lines out the door when they opened at 7 a.m.

The turnout reports follow estimates from Secretary of State William Galvin, who predicted heavier-than-normal turnout — even rivaling a presidential election.

Polling places are saying this year's ballot — which has three statewide ballot questions that stretch onto the back of the page — is also slowing down voting.

Hingham Town Clerk Eileen McCracken says she told workers to prepare for the ballot's length.

"I just told them that it was going to be probably a very long day, just to be patient and that voting may take a little because of the questions," McCracken said

The two-sided ballot is causing some problems with voters. There are some reports that poll workers have not been reminding people that the ballot has two sides, as they were instructed to by the state.

Avi Greene, the director of MassVOTE, says the ballot problems are "very troubling," but probably not intentional.

"It's something that we see every few years," he said. "It's pretty rare. But it is really important. You don't want to walk out without having voted on Question 1, Question 2, and Question 3. Those are pretty important ballot questions."

This program aired on November 2, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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