By Beth Germano

BOSTON (CBS) – With just hours to go before early voting closes out, many polling places were seeing a steady stream of energized voters.

“This year feels like a big deal. Every vote counts, no matter what state you’re in,” said first-time voter Ethan Jacunski, who was voting at Newton Free Library.

READ MORE: Price Chopper Recalls Coleslaw, Stuffed Seafood Items

In the city of Newton alone, officials say 61 percent of voters have already filled out their ballot – either in person or by mail – and voters here like to say it’s done.

“Just getting out there and voting early and making sure it’s done gives me peace of mind,” said Harry Watson.

Some admit to COVID concerns on what they believe will be a crowded Election Day, and some to concerns about ballot security. Attorney General Maura Healey urges calm until the final result. “I’m confident in the system and the ability to protect the right to vote and ensure votes are counted. I ask people to be patient and allow democracy to work,” she said.

READ MORE: Massachusetts Companies Starting To Announce Vaccination Requirements For Employees

Some businesses along Newbury Street in Boston are already thinking of boarding up ahead of the contentious election out of security concerns. The street was the scene of civil unrest after peaceful demonstrations turned violent last June. The Champion clothing store is making an unprecedented decision.

“I’ve been in retail for over a decade and I’ve never had to close a store on Election Day. It’s pretty wild,” said manager Liz Czarnowski, who says the store will board up windows election morning and stay closed not only on Election Day but also the day after.

At the Prudential Center in Boston, some storefronts have already been boarded up, and Newbury Street retailer Betsy Jenney will lock the gate to her merchandise after experiencing some broken windows last June.

“Let’s say I’m being cautious, but I’m not overly concerned,” she said.

MORE NEWS: Worcester Father Carlos Betancourt Accused Of Swinging Knife, Then Baseball Bat At Teen Lifeguards

Massachusetts State Police say they will enhance security on election day at state facilities and in communities who request their assistance.

Beth Germano