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May 1, 2013

Local voters hit polls in trickle, not a rush

GLOUCESTER — A majority of voters across Cape Ann stayed away from the polls yesterday, largely sitting out the special primary elections to determine which Democratic and Republican candidates will face off for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by John Kerry.

The turnout was low, as expected, throughout the area and across the state, though a number of Gloucester’s 20,849 registered voters trickled in throughout the day to cast their ballots at one of two precincts at the Our Lady of Good Voyage Church youth center. The building now serves Gloucester’s Ward 2, Precincts 1 and 2, with Precinct 1 voters having shifted over from McPherson Park.

”Not many so far,” Hank Camille, Ward 2 Precinct 2 warden, said Tuesday afternoon, still hoping for a bit of a rush around 5 p.m. and when the polls close, around 8 p.m.

Polls inspector Sheila Brown noted that fewer elderly residents than usual seemed to be using the Cape Ann Transportation Authority for the special election primary, though she added that could mean more residents could be utilizing absentee ballots this year.

”We’re not expecting more than 150 (people) or so,” she said, estimating that Precinct 2 includes 1,700 voters.

Manchester saw a slow, but steady turnout of voters according Town Clerk Denise Samolchuck.

”There was one voter at 7 a.m., and they have trickled in since then,” she said.

Veterans’ Memorial Elementary School in Gloucester did not see a large turnout either, though poll workers saw more voters walk through the gymnasium doors than initially anticipated, according to poll inspector Susan Baker.

“It’s been slow, steady — and boring,” Baker joked, noting poll workers were utilizing everything from newspapers to Sudoku to pass the time.

With the various after-school programs at the elementary school, Baker and other poll workers gave some of the school’s elementary students an impromptu lesson on the basic principles of how elections work.

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