Low Voter Turnout Expected For Massachusetts’ US Senate Primary

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin says he is not expecting a large turnout for Tuesday’s US Senate Primary. Fewer than 750,000 of the state’s 4 million registered voters are expected to go to the polls. Secretary Galvin says a reliable indicator of turnout is absentee ballot requests, which he says were running 20% behind the last US Senate primary in December, 2009. While primaries historically bring out fewer voters than general elections, he says this primary’s get-out-the-vote effort was further hampered by the Boston Marathon bombings.
“The atrocity of April 15th certainly was a distraction and a pre-occupation for most people and remains so. Therefore they’re not terribly interested in party politics when you have stakes of life and death going on as they were and are.”
A low turnout would favor Ed Markey over Stephen Lynch in the Democratic primary, according to Tim Vercelotti, director of Western New England University’s Polling Institute, which conducted its most recent voter survey around the time of the bombings. He says the outcome of the Republican primary anyone’s guess. And because the poll’s number of likely voters was small, Vercelotti says the survey’s margin of error was quite high — plus or minus 9 percentage points.
“We reported our results with the caution that this is a huge margin of error; don’t draw iron-clad conclusions from this. It didn’t stop people from drawing iron-clad conclusions (laughing), saying “Oh look, Gabriel Gomez has a six point lead”. Well, he might or he might actually be trailing, we can’t say.”
Polls are open Tuesday from 7 am to 8 pm. In addition to the Senate primary, 86 communities across the state are holding municipal elections tomorrow as well