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Strong Voter Turnout Reported In Massachusetts

Credit WAMC

       Voters are going to the polls in high numbers across Massachusetts to cast ballots in the race for president and to decide a series of ballot questions including whether to legalize marijuana and expand charter schools. 

       Margo Griffin arrived at the community center in Springfield’s 16 Acres neighborhood Tuesday morning and said she was looking forward to voting for Democrat Hillary Clinton to become the nation’s first woman president.

    "Making history, once again," she said.

     Laura Leeper said she was just as excited to vote for Clinton as she was for President Obama four years ago.

   "Because they are fighting for the same thing: for all of us. Obama did and now she is going to carry on," said Leeper.

    Doris Johnson also said she voted for Clinton but acknowledged she was not enthusiastic about it.

    " No I wasn't. But given the choice, I took Hillary because she has a better feel for what's going on," said Johnson.

    Christopher Turowsky said he voted for Republican Donald Trump.

     " Hillary Clinton, in my opinion, is a crook. So, I voted for Donald Trump," explained Turowsky,

     Unable to bring himself to vote for Clinton, Trump, or any of the other presidential candidates on his ballot, Adam Joubert said he wrote in Bernie Sanders’ name.

     "I feel he was the better choice," said Joubert.  "That is what our vote is for, right?"

     With Clinton expected to trounce Trump in Massachusetts, no statewide offices on today’s ballot and no close Congressional races, the focus has been on ballot questions and a handful of local contests.

     The fierce and expensive campaign over a ballot question on charter schools continued as voters arrived at their polling places.

     Joan Brooks was passing out literature urging a “yes” vote on Question 2, which if it passes today will allow up to 12 new charter schools a year to open.

    "I think charter schools are great. They have a better education for the kids," she said.

     Patrick Burke was positioned outside a polling place with a sign urging a “ no” vote on Question 2.

    "I come from a family of public school teachers. I am a product of the public schools. Question 2 will hurt, not improve our schools," he said.

     Massachusetts voters will also decide today whether to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults.   

      There is a ballot question that would allow another slots machine-only casino in eastern Massachusetts and one that regulates the confinement of chickens and farm animals.

      Voters in several cities including Springfield, Holyoke and Pittsfield will decide whether to adopt the Community Preservation Act, which would put a surcharge on property tax bills to create a fund for historic preservation, open space and to create affordable housing.

      People were waiting in line at many polling places at 7 a.m. when the doors opened. Springfield Election Commissioner Gladys Oyola said voting appears to be at a pace to meet projections of 60 percent turnout.  She said the voting process has gone well.

     " All the schools where we hold our polling locations in Springfield closed today, so that has eased some of the congestion as far as parking. I don't believe that we are going to have long lines today," said Oyola.

One factor that should shorten wait times to vote is that eight percent of the city’s eligible voters have already cast ballots either as absentee voters, or during the early-voting period that ended last Friday.



Copyright 2016 WAMC Northeast Public Radio

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.

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