In less than 24 hours, the subjects of all of the campaign speeches, all of the debates, and all of the political advertising that has dominated TV shows and mailbox deliveries for weeks will await voters’ verdicts.
And some 30,000 registered voters across Cape Ann will be heading to the polls to render those decisions, helping to choose a president, a U.S. senator, a congressional representative and a governor’s councilor, while rendering “yes” or “no” answers to as many as six referendum questions as well.
By virtually all counts, voting officials are expecting near-record tunrouts for Tuesday’s national and state elections, with Essex Town Clerk Christina Wright having predicted earlier that up to 90 percent of the more than 2,200 voters in that town will cast ballots when teh town’s fire station — like polling places across Cape Ann and across the state — open at 7 a.m.
Those polls will remain open until 8 p.m., with some lines expected to be the norm given the level of interest in an election that — beyond the presidential run between incumbent Barack Onama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, includes hotly-contested races between Republican incumbent Scott Brown and Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren for a U.S. Senate seat, and a battle between Deocratic incumbent John Tierney and Republican challenge Richard Tisei to be U.S. House reprenstative for the state’s 6th District, which includes all of Cape Ann.
Gloucester alone has 20,910 voters eligible for Tuesday’s elections, up from the 17,014 who were eligible in the last presidential election of 2008, according to city clerk Linda Lowe, with Rockport seeing a similar boost from 5,555 registered in 2008 to 5,791 eligible to vote tomorrow.
And in Gloucester, absentee voting requests as of last Friday had already come close to matching the total number of absentee ballots cast in 2008, with 1,147 received for Tuesday compared to 1,156 cast four years ago. Voters who know they cannot make it to the polls Tuesday can still request an absentee ballot up to noon today, through the completed ballot must be returned and postmarked by the election date of Tuesday, Nov. 5.