BOSTON - With light snow and rain falling throughout the state, Massachusetts voters are turning out in droves to cast their ballot in this historic race to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the death of Ted Kennedy.
Republican Scott Brown has been leading in the polls and is hoping for a strong turnout among Republicans and independent voters who favor him.
Democrat Martha Coakley is relying on the Democratic party's get-out-the-vote operation to marshall the support of the state's big Democratic base. Democrats outnumber Republicans 3 to 1 but independents comprise half of the electorate.
Polling places in Coakley strongholds like Newton, Somerville and Wellesley reported long lines and filled parking lots and in Boston, 23,000 people voted within the opening two hours, according to city officials. But areas likely to go for Brown are also busy, with long lines and higher-than-expected turnout at polling spots in Revere, Auburn and Worcester.
Coakley has been spending the day shaking hands at polling places, while Brown has met with volunteers at phone banks and has been making calls, asking for people to go out and vote for him.
Brown told reporters after voting in Wrentham that he was not depending on poll numbers that seem to favor him and would be making calls until the polls close at 8 p.m.
Coakley, after voting in Medford, predicted she would win.