Saturday, 2:15 PM
Massachusetts sets voter turnout record, Galvin says
By John R. Ellement, Globe Staff
Massachusetts set a new record for voter turnout Tuesday. More than 3 million residents went to the polls as voters overwhelmingly chose Democrat Barack Obama as the country's next president.
Secretary of State William Galvin said in a telephone interview today that the tally of voter turnout has reached 3,042,959, up from the 2.9 million who participated in the 2004 presidential election. He said the totals could rise to 3.1 million when overseas ballots are finally tabulated in the coming days.
"It was an election not to be missed,'' Galvin said. He noted that roughly half the state's 6 million residents participated. "It's impressive.''
The percentage of the 4.2 million registered voters who participated -- about 72 percent -- was not a record.
Galvin attributed the increase to Obama's candidacy and statewide -- and national -- concerns about the sputtering economy.
Drawn by the Obama candidacy, voter turnout jumped dramatically in minority districts in Boston and around the state, as did turnout in neighborhoods heavily salted with college students, he said.
Galvin's office took control of the city of Boston's election department after major problems surfaced in the last election. He said he has not yet spoken in detail with officials from his office who were directly involved in Boston, but said that no major problems were reported.
"There were very minor problems, nothing to speak of,'' Galvin said. "There were no real problems.''
He said Cambridge voters did run into problems early during Election Day, but they were quickly fixed by the city's election commission with help from Galvin's office.