NORTH ANDOVER — If this town is any indication, voter turnout could be huge in the Merrimack Valley and throughout the rest of the state.
With polls opening at North Andover High School at 6 a.m., an hour earlier than most other cities or towns in the area, at least 1,000 of people had already voted by 7 a.m.
As of 8 a.m., the vote count was up to 2,200, according to City Clerk Joyce Bradshaw.
"It's been very steady," she said, adding that there no problems inside the polling place with voters or machines.
In Haverhill, voter turnout was equally heavy.
At Hunking Middle School, Ward 2, Precinct 2 Warden Jim Macdonald said that as of 8:35 a.m., 204 ballots were cast, which is more than voted in the entire primary in that precinct.
"If this continues, we'll have a 60 percent turnout," he said, noting that when the polls opened at 7 a.m., the line was all the way down the main hallway of the school and out the front door. There were approximately 70 people in line.
"I haven't seen this many people in six years as warden here," he said. "It's the highest I've ever seen at this time of morning."
At Ward 7, precinct 2, also in Hunking, the warden there reported about 300 voters as about 8:45 a.m.
In North Andover, Bradshaw said she got to City Hall by 4:15 a.m. and with help from Public Works had the polls set up at the high school, complete with extra, portable voting booths on round tables, in preparation for a 6 a.m. opening. In all, she said, there are 120 booths with more in storage in case they are needed.
Voters in North Andover were happy the polls opened at 6 a.m.
"I always vote early," said John Kosheff, 52. "I don't want to miss out."