Mayor’s race: High turnout not expected despite ‘important’ vote

boston mayor's race preliminary ballot
The ballot choices for the Boston mayoral preliminary election.
Credit: Nicolaus Czarnecki, Metro

Voters in Boston will elect a new leader of the Hub for the first time in 20 years, but don’t expect a record-breaking turnout at the polls on Tuesday, political experts and election officials said. 

Thanks to an eventful year in Boston, from the marathon bombings to the recent Red Sox World Series win, the candidates in the mayor’s race have been forced to fight for voters’ attention.

“This is the first time there’s been an open mayoral race in decades and I hope the voters are cognizant of the significance of that,” said Gerry Cuddyer, chair of the city’s election department. Cuddyer said the city hired about 1,600 poll workers for Tuesday’s election and that hundreds of them speak a second language.

More than 113,000 people, or about 30 percent of registered voters, voted in the September preliminary election that narrowed the field of contenders to City Councilor John Connolly and state Rep. Marty Walsh.

Tuesday’s election will be the first time in more than 20 years that Mayor Thomas Menino’s name will not be listed as a candidate. He announced earlier this year that he would not seek a sixth term.

Cuddyer said that while she believes Tuesday’s turnout will be higher than the preliminary election, she doubts there will be any record-breaking numbers.

“Certainly, in the last couple of weeks we’ve been distracted by the Red Sox, and now I hope voters will focus their attention on what is very important for the city,” she said.

Tom Whalen, an associate professor of social science at Boston University, also said there will likely be more voters than in the preliminary election, but not a lot more.

“In the past, the World Series ended a lot earlier. Now, we’re talking just a few days between the end of the World Series and parade, and the mayor’s race. I think a lot of people are just tired out and can’t distinguish between the two candidates,” he said.

Whalen added that it would be “pathetic” for Boston if fewer than half of the city’s registered voters participated in the election to choose the next mayor, but that scenario could be realistic.

“And it’s not a ringing voice of endorsement from the city for whichever candidate wins … it makes their lives politically precarious,” he said.

As for turnout, Paul Watanabe, an associate professor of political science at UMass Boston, pointed out that there has been a one-on-one race since September and that he believe the Red Sox haven’t stolen enough attention away from the campaign to dissuade voters.

“There are enough words that have been spoken and I think the electorate is ready to make this choice, and those that are prepared and ready to vote will do so,” he said.

Meanwhile, voters in some of Boston’s neighborhoods will also face a choice on city council candidates and allowing a casino to be located in East Boston.

There are eight candidates vying for four at-large city council seats. While two of the candidates are incumbents, the two other seats are vacant. All but one of the district city council seats are contested. District 3 City Councilor Frank Baker is running unopposed.

Meanwhile, voters in East Boston will decide on the controversial issue of allowing a casino to be located at Suffolk Downs.

As part of the new expanded gambling law, a host community must hold a vote on whether to allow a casino. Because the track stretches into Revere, voters there will also have to decide the casino issue.

The race track had proposed a casino in partnership with Caesars Entertainment, which has since dropped out after a unfavorable background check.

Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…