Massachusetts voters head to polls, face raft of decisions
BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts voters heading to the polls are facing a raft of decisions - from picking a president and a U.S. senator, to deciding ballot questions and electing members of Congress and the Legislature.
The most closely-watched contest is the race pitting Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Scott Brown against Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren. It's the most expensive political contest in Massachusetts history.
Voters also will choose between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama and decide the fate of ballot questions that would legalize medical marijuana, allow physician-assisted suicide and overhaul car repair rules.
Brown and Warren hit the trail Monday for a final full day of campaigning and are now relying on their political organizations to help turn out the vote before polls close Tuesday.
The candidates combined have spent a record $68 million on the campaign, but an unusual agreement Brown and Warren reached to keep outside groups from advertising held through the end of the campaign.
Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin on Monday projected 3.1 million of the state's roughly 4.2 million registered voters, about 73 percent, will go to the polls, matching the turnout in 2008, the last presidential election year.
The presidential and Senate contests are driving interest in the election. Boston has registered 28,930 new voters since September's primary. Statewide since February, nearly 232,000 new voters have been added to the Massachusetts rolls.
Voters are also being asked to decide three ballot questions.
Question 1 would require automakers to share diagnostic and repair information with independent mechanics, while Question 2 would allow doctors to prescribe life-ending medication at the request of certain terminally ill patients.
Question 3 would allow marijuana to be used for some medical purposes.
There are also a number of high-profile congressional races on the ballot.
Voters in the open 4th Congressional District will choose between Democrat Joseph Kennedy III and Republican Sean Bielat.
The fiercest congressional contest is in the 6th District, where Republican Richard Tisei is challenging Rep. John Tierney. If he wins, Tisei would be the first Massachusetts Republican elected to the House since 1994. He has said he also would be the first openly gay Republican candidate to be elected to the House.
Voters also will be choosing state senators and state representatives, although Democrats' firm hold on power in the Massachusetts Legislature seems unlikely to be loosened, with Republican candidates running for less than half of the legislative seats.
Polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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