- Associated Press - Monday, October 24, 2016

BOSTON (AP) - State residents seized on the chance to cast their ballots early for the first time on Monday, streaming into voting locations more than two weeks before Election Day.

Voters across the state offered a range of reasons for voting early: Some said they had scheduling conflicts on Election Day, and others said they wanted to avoid long lines on Nov. 8. It’s the first time Massachusetts has allowed early voting, joining more than 30 other states.

Sarah Mayorga-Gallo and her husband, Jonathan Gallo, said they’d made up their minds how they were going to vote long before trekking to Somerville City Hall to cast their ballots. They said they couldn’t imagine anything that could switch their votes from Democrat Hillary Clinton for president in the next two weeks.

“There’s also the psycohological benefit of putting the campaign behind us like most of the country wants to do,” Jonathan Gallo said after casting his ballot.

Francoise Giguel also cast her ballot in Somerville, just northwest of Boston.

“Are you kidding me? It was fantastic,” said Giguel, a lab manager who voted for Clinton. “I think it was important, particularly for this election, to allow everybody to come when they can instead of restricting it to one day in the middle of the week.”

Democratic state Secretary William Galvin, the state’s top elections official, said by midday Monday more than 750 voters had cast ballots at Boston City Hall. He said he’d heard reports of strong turnouts in other cities and towns and there were no reports of any glitches.

The Republican presidential nominee, New York real estate mogul Donald Trump, has opined repeatedly that the election is “rigged” against him.

Galvin said the weekend could also see strong turnout, especially in suburban communities among voters who work away from their communities and will take advantage of the chance to vote on a non-work day.

Among those taking the opportunity to vote early was Democratic Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, who cast his ballot at City Hall.

The early voting period continues through Nov. 4. Galvin said he hopes the extended voting period may help increase voter turnout while also taking some of the pressure off on Election Day.

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Online:

Early voting: http://bit.ly/2dXl9Hl

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