Sec. of the Commonwealth William Galvin expects Massachusetts to set a new record for voter turnout in Tuesday's state primary election, with between 1.35 million and 1.45 million ballots cast.
Galvin's advice to voters now that Election Day is upon us is to deposit any ballots that aren't in the mail yet at local drop-off boxes, or to just show up at your usual polling place and vote in-person.
"They have the protective gear, they have the spacing. In many instances, polling places have been reorganized and in some cases physically moved to accommodate the needs of the larger population coming out," Galvin said.
Galvin said he thinks counting mail-in ballots and in-person votes could be slower than usual, but he expects preliminary results by early Wednesday morning. The public interest in Massachusetts' primary election is fueled in part by competitive Democratic races for U.S. Senate and Congress.
"I can't say with certainty that it's not going to be slower. What I can tell you, it's been very carefully thought through," Gallvin said.
Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, poll workers aren’t just tasked with ensuring the safety of votes this year, but also with ensuring the safety of voters.
Mary Whitney, a precinct warden in Dorchester, said her first order of business Tuesday morning will be to ensure none of her poll workers have been showing any COVID-19 symptoms. If they have been, they must be sent home.
“Each poll worker will receive a PPE kit,” said Whitney. “And they have masks, a face shield, gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and a spray.”
Voters are strongly encouraged to wear masks, Whitney said, though masks will also be available for those who don’t have one.
Whitney noted that voters who refuse to wear a mask must still be allowed to vote. And that she, like all wardens, is required to identify a location at her polling place where that can happen at a safe social distance from the general voting area.
Pens will also be sanitized between uses, but if you want to bring your own, you can. Black ink is preferred.