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

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

National

On newly released tape, 'Squeaky' Fromme says was…

Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme told a mental health examiner in newly released interview the "X" she carved in her forehead was meant to separate her from "the system."

Local

New York-based Century 21 store coming to The…

The former Strawbridge & Clothier building will once again host a department store. City officials on Thursday announced New York-based Century 21 Department Stores will…

National

Electric Zoo tickets on sale Tuesday as festival…

Electric Zoo tickets go on sale Tuesday. The festival announced plans to amp up security after two attendees died last year from apparent drug overdoses.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

Movies

Tribeca: Nikki Reed on going funny for a…

"Intramural" star Nikki Reed talks about being the straight person in a broad comedy, spending time in Austin and how "Thirteen" was a "miracle."

Movies

Interview: 'The Quiet Ones' star Sam Claflin on…

"Hunger Games" co-star Sam Claflin talks about his new horror film "The Quiet Ones," plus how technology connects him with fans.

Going Out

Spend an evening in Franklin Square

Support historic Franklin Square on May 15 during the sixth annual Evening in Franklin Square soiree. The evening includes dinner, dancing, a silent auction and…

MLB

The return of Cole Hamels brings optimism

Cole Hamels’ quality start Wednesday was a nice change of pace from his recent season debuts.

MLB

Tony Gwynn Jr. a nice surprise for Phillies

Tony Gwynn Jr. has been a plus in every way for the Phillies.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

5 infamous pitcher ejections for cheating

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.

Food

Hai Street Kitchen opening in Rittenhouse May 22

Japanese cuisine will get a Chipotle-style twist at Hai Street Kitchen & Co., a new casual, quick-food restaurant opening near Rittenhouse Square on May 22.…

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.