BOSTON (CBS) — Secretary of State William Galvin said he expects an orderly and Election Day in Massachusetts. “We believe that voting will be safe tomorrow and folks should not hesitate to participate,” he told reporters Monday.
As of Monday, 2.3 million votes have already been cast. Galvin anticipates 1.3 million voters will come out on Tuesday.
“My belief is that we would increase our turnout over what the record that we experienced in 2016 of 3.3 million,” Galvin said. “I believe our total turnout will exceed 3.6 million, in other words, an increase of over 300,000 persons beyond what we had in 2016.”
He based the increase on a number of factors including increased voter registration, the declining number of inactive voters, and an uptick in interest, even in areas of the state that they don’t normally see.
Suburban areas took advantage of the vote by mail option more so than urban areas. Approximately only one-quarter of urban voters voted early or by mail, implying that cities will see larger Election Day turnouts, Galvin said.
“In order to make sure that voters feel safe we have spent a great deal of time and energy, and resources to make sure that the participants at the polls tomorrow, the election officials, have sufficient protective equipment that the polls themselves are safe and well-spaced, well lit, well organized. And we believe that voting will be safe tomorrow and voters should not hesitate to participate.”
Anyone voting on Election Day should plan ahead to avoid lines.
All polling places will have a police officer present and according to state law, political activity cannot take place within 150 feet of the voting area. Observers from political parties and activist groups are not allowed to interact with voters.
The state’s unofficial results will be available Tuesday night, Galvin said, but the number will change due to the mail-in ballots coming in after the election.
Domestic mail-in ballots will be accepted and counted until 5 p.m. on Nov. 6 as long as it was postmarked by Nov. 3. Mail-in ballots from military members stationed internationally will be accepted up to 10 days after the election as long as it was postmarked by Nov. 13.
“To suggest that somehow this is criminal or this is improper or this is illegal, is disgraceful and criminal. These are people who serve our country and to suggest that somehow they should be deprived of the right to vote because through no fault of their own the ballot is not received by the close of the polls is simply unacceptable,” Galvin said, referencing President Trump’s claims that counting ballots after Election Day is unfair.
As of Monday, 240,000 mail-in ballots haven’t been returned. Galvin said this number will never get to zero since many who request mail-in ballots end up voting in person.
This election cycle’s expanded early voting and mail-in voting is something Galvin expects will continue in future election for Massachusetts.