In Holliston, Town Clerk Jackie Dellicker said she was thrilled with the full parking lot outside the polling station and the steady stream of voters walking through the doors today.
By noon, just over 25 percent of the 9,812 registered voters in town had cast their ballots in the Holliston High School gymnasium. During the special Senate primary election in December, 23 percent of the town’s voters cast ballots altogether.
People in Ashland were also greeted with lots of voters.
“When we got here at 7, there was actually a line of cars on East Union Street,” said Barbara Chisholm, who was holding a Martha Coakley sign outside Ashland High.
“I’m glad people are turning out. Obviously, I hope they’re voting for Martha,” said Chisholm, but seeing them take the time to come to the polls, “that’s a good thing.”
State Sen. Scott Brown, R-Wrentham; Democrat Coakley, the state Attorney General; and Joseph Kennedy, who is running as a Tea Party candidate and is not related to the late senator, are hoping to fill the Senate seat Ted Kennedy held for five decades.
Each had support from voters at Ashland High and Keefe Tech this morning.
“I’m tired of the Democrats,” said Ashland resident Jim Kelly, who cast his vote for Brown. “Martha felt Ted Kennedy’s seat was hers. She had no right to that.”
“I voted for Martha. I think what (Ted) Kennedy worked so long for has to come to fruition,” said Marie Raffi of Ashland.
Richard Schmidt said he supported Joe Kennedy because “I looked at the issues. I like where he stands. It may be throwing away a vote,” said the Ashland resident, but he said it was important to vote his conscience.
The tight race between Brown and Coakley has garnered national attention because the winner would likely cast the deciding vote on national health care reform.
That doesn’t sit well with Ashland resident Edward Kormann.
Health care reform “should have been a public referendum in the country,” he said, not an issue decided by a single Senate election.
Recent polls have shown Brown catching and surpassing Coakley in public support.
“It made it clear, with the polls being close, I had to come out,” said Art Jacobson of Framingham, who voted for Coakley at Keefe Tech.
“This is an important seat,” said Framingham resident Chris Brown. “I’m just hoping it is (Scott) Brown and we can make a difference.”
About a half-dozen signs for Brown and Coakley were posted at the Winter Street entrance to Keefe Tech at 9:30. In Ashland, four Brown signs were visible to voters making their way to the high school poll and Coakley supporters Chisholm and Joanne Artz waved to voters as they drove past.
“I think it is nice” to have someone wave, said Artz. “People want to see the person they’re supporting has other supporters.”
Poll workers at both locations said early-morning voter traffic had been strong and steady.
Ashland Town Clerk Tara Ward said 4 percent of the town’s registered voters had cast ballots as of 10 a.m.
In Framingham, poll workers in Precinct 4 said there had been about 150 voters an hour, with 585 people voting by 11 a.m. In Precinct 7, more than 400 people had voted by 11 a.m.
(News staff writers David Riley and Dan McDonald contributed to this report. Julia Spitz can be reached at 508-626-3968 or [email protected].)
By Julia Spitz/Daily News staff