By Sara Brown
LAWRENCE — Yelena Almante walked into Arlington School this morning and voted for Dan Rivera for mayor as supporters of incumbent William Lantigua held signs across the street.
"I think it's time for a change," she said.
Maria Peguero, meanwhile, was voting for Lantigua at Leahy School. "He's a good man," she said.
Almante and Peguero were two of hundreds of Lawrence residents who voted this morning.
Barbara Beland, election warden at the Bruce School on Butler Street, said voter turnout was "steady and high" this morning.
"There has been a steady flow of people coming in and out already," Beland said. "I think it's going to be a high turnout."
Over at the Arlington School, 150 had already voted by 10 a.m.
The race Lawrence voters said they cared the most about is between incumbent Lantigua and challenger Rivera.
"I think Rivera would make an outstanding Mayor," Almante said. "I am so disappointed in Lantigua. He is no good for Lawrence."
Others disagree with Almante.
"I'm voting for Lantigua. I think he's been unfairly criticized," Peguero said.
Almante believes there will be a good voter turnout today.
"From talking with my friends, I think a lot of people will come out and vote today. It's an important election," she said.
Beland expects turnout to pick up around 5 p.m.
"That is when things really pick up because people are out of work," she explained.
She said everything so far has been going well with no sign of problems.
Meanwhile, voter turnout has been "steady" in Haverhill.
"I would say it has been steady but not high," acting City Clerk Heather Budrewicz. "When I went to check out polling areas I only saw like 4 voters in each area."
She does admit the turnout can spike around dinner time.
"That's when we usually see most of our voters because they are out of work and such," she said.
So far there have been no signs of trouble.
"People who are holding up signs outside polling places are abiding by the 150 foot rule to the best of my knowledge and that has been consistent through out," she said.
About 25 percent of Haverhill’s 41,457 registered voters are expected to cast ballots today to elect their mayor, City Council and School Committee, according to projections by elections officials.
Voter turnout in Methuen has been constant as well.
"I would say it is a little bit ahead of this time two years ago but it is hard for me to know for sure," City Clerk Christine Touma-Conway said. "In the wards where there is a high elderly population, it has been busy. In areas where people work, like the Marsh Grammar School, I expect it to be busy during the evening. We expected a busy today and so far it has been."
Voters in Methuen will be casting their ballots today to elect their mayor, City Council and School Committee as well
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