Secretary of State Galvin predicts up to 3.2m votes will be cast in Mass.

Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin today predicted that between 3.1 million and 3.2 million people will cast ballots on Election Day.

He says he expects the turnout will be at, or slightly above, the previous presidential election year, when 3,102,995 people voted. If more people vote than in 2008, it will be a record high in terms of total votes cast, though not in terms of the percentage of those eligible actually voting.

The number of people registered is still about the same — about 4.2 million, he said.

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Galvin also noted at a State House news conference this morning that the number of applications for absentee ballots is about 25,000 more than in 2008. There were 284,789 applications taken out this year, compared to 260,163 in 2008. The deadline for submission of absentee ballots is noon today.

Galvin said the rise in absentee ballots in the state may be driven by a rise in early voting in other states.

There is “not as much intensity at the end as we saw four years ago, yet at the same time intense interest on the side of absentee balloters,” he said.

Galvin said his office had met with representatives of Democratic and Republican Senate campaigns, as well as other representatives of candidates, to go over election rules and regulations, and issues of concern, including the 150-foot campaigning buffer that surrounds polling places and voter identification issues.

Galvin also addressed two issues that arose during the 2000 election, issues some experts say are possibilities in this year’s close race.

Asked whether there might be demands for a recount, he responded, “I fervently pray no.”

And when asked whether one presidential candidate might win the Electoral College but not the popular vote, he said, “Some people have speculated that will happen again tomorrow.”

Polls across the state will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Tuesday. Some will open as early as 6 a.m., he said.