SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

April 30, 2013

Low primary turnout expected

There are few political yard signs lining the streets of the North Shore, and candidate advertisements aren’t as overwhelming as in other statewide elections.

But the special primary election for the U.S. Senate is today from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Three men are vying for the Republican nomination and two for the Democratic nomination to fill the seat vacated in February when John Kerry stepped down to become U.S. secretary of state.

With a lack of political activities leading up to today’s primary, local town and city clerks are expecting a low voter turnout even though the U.S. Senate seats from Massachusetts have been in constant flux since the death of Edward Kennedy in 2010.

“I am praying for double digits,” Salem City Clerk Cheryl Lapointe said. “It has been very quiet; you can usually tell when there will be a busy election. There will be a lot of voter activity with people coming in to absentee vote or get an absentee ballot.”

Only about 40 voters took out absentee ballots in Salem for today’s primary. Typically, more than 2,000 are requested for a busy election, Lapointe said.

In Ipswich, Town Clerk Pamela Carakatsane said 96 absentee ballots were requested, which is a “small amount” compared to other elections.

“It doesn’t seem like there has been too much talk or signs in the area,” she said. “I haven’t really seen signs for anyone.”

In the Democratic primary, Congressman Ed Markey of Malden is running against Congressman Stephen Lynch of South Boston.

Markey, first elected to Congress in 1976, received the blessing of the Democratic establishment, picking up early endorsements from many prominent Democrats, including Kerry.

Lynch has highlighted his blue-collar roots and former job as an iron worker and union president. He held socially conservative views on abortion and gay marriage for years, some of which he said have evolved over time, generating some heat from liberal Democrats.

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