Massachusetts Officials Project Low Turnout #MASEN

Posted June 25, 2013 at 9:49am

There’s no telling whether the Boston Bruins’ stunning loss in the Stanley Cup Finals on Monday night will further depress turnout in Tuesday’s Senate special election, but experts have already predicted a record low number of voters will go to the polls.

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin said at a press conference on Monday that he expects about 1.6 million voters to participate in the race between Democratic Rep. Edward J. Markey and the Republican nominee, Gabriel Gomez. Polls opened at 7 a.m. and will close at 8 p.m.

(See also in Roll Call: Gomez Loss Would Bump Bay State Off GOP’s Map)

The 37 percent turnout projection is based on the hot weather, the relatively few number of calls to the state election office and hits on its website, and the fact that only 64,000 absentee ballots were requested. Galvin’s projection for the April 30 primaries turned out to be too high, according to spokesman Brian McNiff.

That’s far off from the January 2010 special election, which Republican Scott P. Brown won. About 106,000 absentee ballots were issued then, and more than 2.2 million voters turned out.

Beyond the Bruins, two major legal situations are playing out in Massachusetts: the trial of accused Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger, and New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, whose home has been searched in connection to a murder.

Markey has led in every poll and is favored to win the seat of Democrat John Kerry, who resigned this year to become secretary of State. The seat is up in November 2014, so the winner will have to run again next year for a full term.

Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates the race Democrat Favored.