Primary Turnout Tomorrow Could Be Low

Massachusetts voters will head to the polls tomorrow to vote in the presidential primary.

Tomorrow Massachusetts voters will head to the polls for the Super Tuesday primary in the 2012 presidential race, although Melrose Election Administrator Linda-Lee Angiolillo isn't expecting a big turnout.

Angiolillo told Melrose Patch that based on the number of requested absentee ballots for the primary, turnout could be light, although given that it's a presidential primary, she has "no idea" on how many voters will actually cast ballots tomorrow.

The last presidential primary in 2008 had a relatively good turnout of 55 percent, Angiolillo said, but that race featured two hotly contested races for the Republican and Democratic presidential nominations. Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney both won Melrose in that primary, as they had won statewide.

Angiolillo said she's hoping for 30-40 percent turnout and that "if we get to 40, that's good."

This year features a close ongoing race between Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich for the Republican nomination. Each candidate is battling to amass the 1,144 delegates needed to secure the party's nomination, and Super Tuesday has 419 delegates up for grabs.

According to the Associated Press, 353 delegates have already been won in other primaries: Romney, 203; Santorum, 92; Gingrich, 33; and Paul, 25.

Former Gov. Romney has an advantage in Massachusetts according to the polls, but state rules award 38 delegates proportionately among the candidates who win at least 15 percent of the vote statewide, so each candidate can pick up delegates in Massachusetts by meeting that threshold.

Both Republicans and unenrolled independent registered voters can vote in the Republican primary tomorrow. Unenrolled voters are allowed to vote in one party's primary of their choosing and return to unenrolled status when the leave the polls.

Melrose is a largely independent city—of it's 18,720 registered voters, 9,796 are unenrolled according to figures released last month by the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Office; while 2,207 are registered Republicans; 6,623 are registered Democrats; and 11 are registered Green-Rainbow.

Melrose Republicans and independents can also vote tomorrow in the race for Republican State Committeman between incumbent Albert Turco of Wakefield and Robert Aufiero of Melrose. Brittany Carisella of Wakefield is running unopposed for Republican State Committeewoman and candidates for the Republican Ward Committees are also essentially running unopposed.

There aren't any contested races on the Democratic ballot, with incumbents Obama, State Committeeman Joseph Lawless III and State Committeewoman Betsy Sheeran all running unopposed. 

Three candidates are vying for the Green-Rainbow Party's presidential nomination: Kent Mesplay, Jill Stein and Harley Mikkelson.

This is the first election since Melrose underwent redistricting after the last census. Angiolillo said anyone whose polling location changed received a postcard in the mail. .

"There are going to be a few people that are still going to come to the wrong polling place," Angiolillo said, and they'll be directed by poll workers to the correct polling location. "We’re expecting a few, but hopefully people read their postcards."


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