Election officials reported lines of Braintree residents waiting to vote this morning when polls opened at 7 a.m., an early sign that turnout could approach or even exceed numbers seen four years ago, when the last presidential race captured the nation's attention.
By mid-morning on Tuesday, Braintree precincts across town had already surpassed the amount of voting seen all day during the September primary. The polls at Town Hall, for instance, had already registered 20 percent turnout before 10 a.m., with some of the heaviest voting expected during the evening rush hours.
U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, defending his seat from Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren, was spotted in South Braintree early on Tuesday. That race, along with the ballot questions and the local Congressional contest, dominated the sign-holding outside of polling locations this morning in Braintree.
Eileen Cefail, her daughter Mia and their dog Cookie held "Warren for Senate" signs outside of East Middle School just before 9 a.m. Cefail, a member of Roofers Local 33, said her father was an asbestos worker and called Brown's attacks on the subject meritless.
Valerie Sheehy said of Warren, "She's fabulous, I love her."
Sheehy, holding a "Vote No on Question 2" sign outside of St. Thomas More, stood with fellow Braintree residents Jim Cedrone and Joe Mulligan, also Warren supporters.
A few feet away, Jim Donovan called Warren a "liar and a fraud" and questioned the wisdom of putting someone in office who does not support the working class.
Donovan, a former hospital equipment manufacturing rep and union member, was holding a sign for Joe Selvaggi, a Republican challenging U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch. He said he switched from Democrat to Republican years ago, when Democrats stopped representing people like him.
"I'm not a fat cat," he said. "If you're not moving with them, you can't stay with them."
Over at the recreation building on Quincy Avenue, Christine Canavan stumped for Lynch. Her son, Thomas Canavan, is a sergeant in the Marines who just returned from his second tour in Afghanistan. She called Lynch a "down to earth" politician who has worked to help service members like her son.
"He is a very good advocate for people," Bob Lerro said outside of Morrison School, echoing Canavan's thoughts on Lynch. "He is a very helpful and accessible Congressman."
Standing with Lerro was Jean B. Healey, supporting a no vote on Question 2, which would enable doctors to assist terminally ill patients with suicide. She said the law would be very dangerous for disabled and depressed people and does not contain enough safeguards.
"There are all kinds of serious defects in the legislation," Healey said.
There appeared to be virtually no signs for presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney outside Braintree locations Tuesday morning. The national campaign may be driving voters to the polls, but supporters so far have their energy focused locally.
Stay with Braintree Patch for ongoing election coverage, including live results tonight. Also look for an update shortly from polls in South Braintree and mid-day turnout numbers.