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TOWNSEND — The polls were hopping in Townsend.

When the doors opened at 7 a.m. at least 25 people were waiting to get inside and vote.

Two men, in line since 6:30, were busy chatting the whole time, said Sue Funaiole, assistant town clerk.

The early birds were not the first to vote in the town’s election, though. The town clerk’s office received 232 applications for absentee ballots. Many were returned before the Nov. 4 election date.

At 10:30 a.m., 775 people had already voted at town hall.

The steady stream throughout the morning was in marked contrast to the turnout for the primary election in September. At mid-morning two months ago, election officials sat waiting for voters.

The high number of voters this time around was all due to the ballot questions, said Constable John Whittemore.

Others disagreed.

“It’s the governor’s race,” Funaiole said.

“There’s a whole world of things to think about,” Whittemore said.

Townsend, with a roughly equal number of Democrat and Republican voters is often a bellwether for state and national elections, he said.

Townsend resident Gene Rauhala, Democrat, was on the ballot, challenging incumbent Sheila Harrington of Groton, Republican, for the state representative seat.

His supporters held signs on both sides of Route 119.

“Gene’s got it. He’s a strong Democrat,” said supporter Cindy King, chairman of the Townsend Finance Committee. The district has not seen a strong Democrat candidate for a long time.

Rauhala knows the town and the region, said supporter and former selectman Dave Funaiole. The Democrat has also taken a strong stance on the proposed pipeline.

Harrington’s supporters, a smaller contingent than Rauhala’s, greeted people as they entered the driveway to Memorial Hall where the polls were located.

“She has a very good handle on what’s going on, what needs to be done,” said supporter Ray Jackson. “I think she’s going to do good.”

Both Rauhala’s and Harrington’s supporters said that their candidate had support from voters from the other party.

“They may not be Republicans, but they like her,” Jackson said.

Several voters who usually vote the straight Republican ticket voted for Rauhala, Dave Funaiole said.

Voting means you care enough to make your voice heard, Jackson said. “There’ nothing worse than sitting on the couch” and complaining.

Follow Anne O’Connor on Twitter and Tout @a1oconnor.