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
National

Humans should thank ancient Scottish fish fossils for…

By Kate KellandLONDON (Reuters) - Scientists studying fossils have discovered that the intimate act of sexual intercourse used by humans was pioneered by ancient armored…

National

Comet makes rare close pass by Mars as…

By Irene KlotzNEW YORK (Reuters) - A comet from the outer reaches of the solar system on Sunday made a rare, close pass by Mars…

Local

NYPD: Man found hanging in Brooklyn subway station

A man was found hanging inside a Brooklyn subway station on Saturday morning, police said. The man, who still had not been identified on Sunday,…

Local

Only church destroyed in 9/11 set to rebuild

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the only house of worship destroyed during the terrorist attacks on 9/11, held a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday to start the…

Television

9 things we learned about 'Hannibal' Season 3…

There’s plenty of fall television to be excited about, but the crowd inside the Paley Center for Media on Saturday night only wanted one thing:…

Going Out

Watch home cooks try to impress Tom Colicchio…

Is what you’re making for dinner tonight good enough to serve “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio? That’s the standard that some of the city’s best…

Television

‘Homeland’ recap: Season 4, Episode 4 ‘Iron in…

Carrie Mathison, what are you doing?! Don’t seduce virgins! More on that later: Lots of crazy stuff went down on the "Iron in the Fire" ep of "Homeland"!

Movies

Box office: Brad Pitt kills Nazis, also Nicholas…

This weekend, Brad Pitt's second WWII movie, "Fury," rolled into the lead, while the latest Nicholas Sparks movie, "The Best of Me," got little love.

College

College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State…

College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State holds off FSU

NHL

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in…

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in front

NFL

DeMarco Murray carries Cowboys to win over Giants

The Giants knew they would need to stop DeMarco Murray if they were going to leave Dallas with a win. It didn't matter.

NFL

Jets trade for wide receiver Percy Harvin: Report

According to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, the Jets have sent a conditional draft pick to the Seahawks for wide receiver Percy Harvin.

Wellbeing

Gabby Bernstein: The 3 questions I always get

For the last decade, I’ve been writing self-help books and preaching the Gospel of Gabby to audiences throughout the world. And no matter what country…

Wellbeing

Health News: 5K for lung cancer, free yoga,…

Get some fresh air to benefit lung cancer research On Friday, the first-ever Brooklyn Free to Breathe Run/Walk will take place Oct. 26 at Cadman Plaza…

Education

Can these two college students come up with…

Two Atlanta college students say they have an idea for a simple test that would quickly diagnosis the Ebola virus - and it all started…

Education

Chances are, the average college student isn't taking…

As a bachelor’s degree becomes more expensive than ever, one new report is criticizing colleges for the content of those pricey educations. The American Council…