Bay State voters face long lines, raft of decisions
BOSTON -- Voters across the Bay State heading to the polls are facing long lines and a raft of decisions from picking a president and a U.S. senator, to deciding ballot questions.
Voters lined up outside libraries, schools and churches to cast their ballot. In Somerville, a line snaked outside a school with one person reporting a two-hour wait Tuesday morning.
It was the same case at the Boston Public Library. Even congressional candidate Joe Kennedy III had to wait an hour to cast his ballot in Brookline.
Still, voters say they wouldn't have it any other way with this much riding on who and what wins -- candidates and ballot measures alike.
“I'm really not that political to be honest, but it's exciting that it's close and there's a reason to come vote as an Independent,” said Rob Ketterson, a voter.
“It's your duty in a way. But also too, if you're not satisfied with the way things are, if things bother you and stuff, that's your way of showing your American way,” said Derek Todd, a voter.
“I think it's going to be very close though. And I hope everybody turns out and votes. Regardless. Even the people who are going to vote against my candidate,” said Kathy Plazak, a voter.
“Citizens have very little participation in government. Today is the day. Today is the day we participate,” said Allan Taylor, a voter.
The most closely watched contest is the race pitting Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Scott Brown against Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren. It's the most expensive political contest in Massachusetts history.
Voters also will choose between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama and decide the fate of ballot questions that would legalize medical marijuana, allow physician-assisted suicide and overhaul car repair rules.
Brown and Warren stood in line before casting their votes shortly after polls opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday in their hometowns.
Brown waited in line with his family at Wrentham Middle School before voting.
Warren was accompanied by her husband and more than a dozen other family members when she voted at the Graham Parks School in Cambridge.
Both candidates have plans to spend the rest of the day visiting other polling places and phone banks before settling in to wait for results.
The candidates combined have spent a record $68 million on the campaign, but an unusual agreement Brown and Warren reached to keep outside groups from advertising held through the end of the campaign.
Romney drew high security when he and his wife, Ann, cast their ballots in the Boston suburb of Belmont they still call home. They were then off to Ohio and Pennsylvania for last-day campaigning in key swing states.
Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin on Monday projected 3.1 million of the state's roughly 4.2 million registered voters, about 73 percent, will go to the polls, matching the turnout in 2008, the last presidential election year. His prediction was borne out as long lines were reported at many polling places.
The presidential and Senate contests are driving interest in the election. Boston has registered 28,930 new voters since September's primary. Statewide since February, nearly 232,000 new voters have been added to the Massachusetts rolls.
Voters are also being asked to decide three ballot questions.
Question 1 would require automakers to share diagnostic and repair information with independent mechanics, while Question 2 would allow doctors to prescribe life-ending medication at the request of certain terminally ill patients.
Question 3 would allow marijuana to be used for some medical purposes.
There are also a number of high-profile congressional races on the ballot.
Voters in the open 4th Congressional District will choose between Democrat Joseph Kennedy III and Republican Sean Bielat.
The fiercest congressional contest is in the 6th District, where Republican Richard Tisei is challenging Rep. John Tierney. If he wins, Tisei would be the first Massachusetts Republican elected to the House since 1994. He has said he also would be the first openly gay Republican candidate to be elected to the House.
Voters also will be choosing state senators and state representatives, although Democrats' firm hold on power in the Massachusetts Legislature seems unlikely to be loosened, with Republican candidates running for less than half of the legislative seats.
Polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
(Copyright (c) 2012 Sunbeam Television. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)