Massachusetts launched its first experiment with early voting Monday, and officials said initial signs were encouraging.
“Many communities had lines when they opened this morning, and we’re quite pleased,” said Secretary of State William Galvin.
Galvin said his office received reports that more than 750 people showed up to vote at Boston’s City Hall alone. He said he hopes the high turnout will continue throughout the week.
“I think it’s going to release some of the pressure on Election Day, and it will encourage people who could not otherwise come out on Election Day to vote,” Galvin said. “I know the novelty is there today; we’ll see if it’s sustained through the week.”
In Massachusetts, voters will be weighing in on a contentious presidential race, as well as several ballot measures.
Under a 2014 law, municipalities statewide are required to have at least one polling station open starting Monday. The polls must remain open until Nov. 4, the Friday before the general election. A voter who casts a ballot early is not allowed to change the vote on Election Day, Nov. 8.
In the first 25 minutes voting was available in Boston, more than 60 people took advantage, said Dion Irish, the city’s elections commissioner.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh was among the early-voting Bostonians. Walsh waited in line for about 25 minutes during the midday rush, chatting with voters before casting his ballot at City Hall.
He praised the state’s decision to allow voters expanded options this election cycle, as did Mary Tavilla, a North End resident. As she stood in line around 5 p.m., Tavilla said she was excited to vote early.
“I knew the lines on Election Day would be horrendous,” Tavilla said.
Sam Johnson, a Roslindale resident, said his reason for voting early was even simpler.
“I just wanted to get it over with,” Johnson said.Olivia Quintana can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @oliviasquintana. Astead W. Herndon can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @AsteadWH