By Mac Cerullo
---- — Local election officials are expecting a low turnout at tomorrow’s primary election for the vacant U.S. Senate seat formerly held by new Secretary of State John Kerry.
Polls are scheduled to open statewide at 7 a.m. and remain open until 8 p.m., but local voter activity has been fairly quiet so far, and early indications are that polling sites will be a much different scene compared to the craziness of election day last November.
Bonnijo Kitchin, Amesbury’s city clerk, said she has only received a few absentee ballots, which she said is usually a good indicator of how big the turnout will be, and almost nobody took advantage of the voter registration her office held earlier this month.
“We stayed open for an extra four hours and one person came in,” Kitchin said.
Although primary elections in non-presidential election years typically don’t draw as many voters, Kitchin said she’s seen surprisingly little election activity in town outside of a few commercials.
“I don’t know if there has been a big push, but I haven’t seen many advertisements,” she said. “By now usually you see people with signs, but I haven’t really seen anything.”
Registered Democrats will have the opportunity to choose between U.S. Congressmen Ed Markey and Stephen Lynch, who represent the 5th and 8th Congressional Districts respectively, on the Democratic ballot.
The winner of that race will face either former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez, former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and state Rep. Daniel Winslow, the three candidates for the Republican nomination, in the June 25 special general election.
Part of the reason why the special election race seems to be flying under the radar is because all five candidates for office suspended their campaigns in the wake of last Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings, which left three people dead and more than 260 injured.
The campaign just restarted last week, leaving the five candidates barely a week until Election Day to reach out to voters and leave an impression before the polls open tomorrow.
As well as the special U.S. Senatorial Primary election, the voters in the communities of Salisbury, Newbury, West Newbury and Georgetown go to the polls for their annual spring elections, to vote their choices on candidates running for town office and other ballot questions.
Georgetown — Polls: Penn Brook School. Three contested races: Selectman, Phillip Trapani and Douglas Dawes; Board of Assessors, Thomas Berube and Eric Harper; Housing Authority, Bertha Foster and David Schauer.
Newbury — Voters will fill 13 seats on the annual ballot, including four contested races — Selectmen: incumbent Chuck Bear and Michael Doyle; David Balkus and Charles Alan Colby Jr., constable, 1-year unexpired term; David A. Elwell, H. Russell Iwanowicz and Jeffrey “Clamma” Janvrin, fish commissioner, 1-year unexpired term; and David J. Powell and Mary E. Chick, Planning Board, 5-year term. There is no candidate officially running for a 2-year, unexpired term as Trustee of the First Settlers Burial Ground. Precinct 1 votes at the Newbury Fire Station, 3 Morgan Ave.; Precinct 2 at the Town Library, O Lunt St.
Salisbury — Polls: Hilton Center. Ballot question for new library proposal and two contested races: selectmen: Freeman Condon III, Ed Hunt, Paula Moore, Ronald Laffely, Tom Saab; town moderator: Jerry Klima, Ronalee Ray-Parrott.
West Newbury — Polls: Town Annex. Race is for selectman between Joe Anderson and Kristi Devine.
Polls are open in all communities from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Staff writer Angeljean Chiaramida and correspondent Jen Solis contributed to the report.