Berkshire County, with its 73 percent turnout of registered voters on Election Day, nearly matched its participation performance at the polls four years ago, according to local election officials.
Tuesday's onslaught of ballots cast in the 32 cities and towns was a shade below the 74 percent turnout in the historic 2008 presidential election. That year, Barack Obama became the country's first black president.
On Tuesday, Obama became just the second incumbent Democrat in the White House to win re-election since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944. The other was Bill Clinton in 1996.
Local city and town clerks reported few problems during the 13-hour voting period, given the steady stream of people who flocked to the polls.
"It was constant from start to finish -- it was inspiring to see," said Pittsfield City Clerk Linda M. Tyer.
"I love it when voters come out in droves," said Lee Town Clerk Suzanne Scarpa. "I wish they would do that for every election."
However, some voters were literally out of place, unable to cast ballots in the Berkshires.
Scarpa said a couple, who moved to Lee from Vermont, thought their voter registration had moved with them.
In Great Barrington, Town Clerk Marie Ryan cited how a pair voters were politically blown off course, displaced by Hurricane Sandy.
"We had a couple from New Jersey who were told they could vote anywhere because it was a federal election," said
Berkshire County voter turnout ranged from 64 percent in North Adams to 86 percent in Mount Washington. Pittsfield and Adams, each at 66 percent, were the only other Berkshire communities below the 70th percentile.
The rush to the voting booths was fueled by the hotly contested presidential race and political battle for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts, local election officials and political observers said.
"The presidential election is always the biggest draw and the element of Elizabeth Warren added excitement on the ballot," said state Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lenox, who won re-election.
Pignatelli was referring to Democrat Warren on Tuesday who beat Republican U.S. Sen. Scott Brown for his Senate seat, the one long held by the late Edward M. Kennedy. The staunch Democrat's death three years ago triggered a special election in January 2010 in which Brown scored a victory over Democrat Martha Coakley to serve out the final two years of Kennedy's six-year term.
Brown's claim on that Democratic stronghold seat was a wake-up call for Democrats who campaigned tirelessly for Warren, according to state Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield.
"She needed an incredibly organized and effective campaign to beat a politically adept incumbent in Brown," Downing said.
Meanwhile, Pignatelli almost had his own performance of two years ago at the ballot box on Tuesday to defeat Scott Laugenour for the 4th Berkshire District seat. It was the only state-level legislative race in the Berkshires.
Pignatelli garnered 81 percent of the vote compared to 83 percent in 2010 during his first political battle against Laugenour, the challenger from the Green-Rainbow Party.
Pignatelli said he greatly appreciates the back-to-back ringing endorsements from the 20-town legislative district.
"Running for office is the most humbling experience I've had," said the dean of the Berkshire state legislative delegation. "If we as lawmakers do our job every single day for our constituents, the elections will take care of themselves."
County cross section
* Berkshire County was all about re-electing President Barack Obama. With roughly a 73 percent turnout of registered voters up and down the county, 48,355 of them voted for Obama, while 14,106 went for Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. It was a better than 3-to-1 trouncing.
* The county also went for Elizabeth Warren, 44,823, over U.S. Scott Brown, 18,475, on Tuesday. Locally, Brown didn't fare well in the 2010 special election for the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's seat, either: Brown lost 31 of 32 Berkshire County towns to Martha Coakley. But on Tuesday, the town of Otis, the county's lone Brown holdout in 2010, changed its mind: The town went 437 for Warren to 381 for Brown.
* While the proponents of the so-called "Death with Dignity Act" proposal conceded defeat on Wednesday, the bill that would have essentially allowed physician-assisted suicide in Massachusetts did enjoy majority support in Berkshire County. Question 2 passed 35,883 to 25,231 in the county.
* Berkshire County voted with the rest of the state in passing the medical marijuana referendum. Here, the bill passed by about a 2-to-1 margin, 40,367 votes to 20,163.
* It's the smallest town, but it had the biggest vote: Mount Washington, with 125 registered voters, had an 86 percent turnout on Tuesday. That's the highest percentage of any town in the county. The lowest? North Adams, with 64 percent.
* The nonbinding ballot question urging state lawmakers to support a constitutional effort to overturn the Supreme Court's "Citizens United" decision -- the one that established corporations like people in the First Amendment -- was broadly embraced in the Berkshires: 37,030 to 9,260.