MA: Turnout Could Beat Kennedy Record
By Lyndsey Layton
In Massachusetts, election officials say voter turnout today may beat the record set in 1980, when Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the wildly popular senior statesman, was seeking the presidential nomination against Jimmy Carter.
Secretary of State William Galvin is predicting about one-third of the state's 4 million registered voters will cast ballots today. Voting has been steady this morning, despite a soaking rain in Boston and some icing in communities to the west.
One sign of the intensity is the fact that about 77,000 voters requested absentee ballots - about double the number in 2000, the last time the presidential race was contested in both parties. "There's a good deal of interest in this one," said Brian McNiff, a spokesman for Galvin, who reported no significant problems at the polls so far.
Candidates in both parties have ties to the Bay State. Obama, who went to Harvard Law School, is enjoying support from Kennedy as well as Gov. Deval Patrick. Clinton, who has often vacationed on Martha's Vineyard where she and her husband socialized with the Kennedys, is backed by Boston Mayor Tom Menino and his crack urban political machine. Republican Mitt Romney is a former governor who remains popular among the state's 485,959 registered Republicans.
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