The first voters did not show up at some precincts until after the poll workers had finished their first cup of coffee. In one Dorchester voting location, the police officer on duty spent much of the morning reading, only occasionally interrupted by voters trickling through.
Whether it was election fatigue or the scorching temperatures, voters lived up to predictions Tuesday, turning out in extremely low numbers for the US Senate special election to replace John F. Kerry.
With 96 percent of precincts reporting, fewer than 1.2 million votes had been cast, well short of the most pessimistic prediction and more than a million fewer than those cast in the 2010 special election to replace Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
The total number of votes cast even fell shy of the number received by Republican Scott Brown in that contest. Final turnout Tuesday was expected to be about 27 percent, compared with 54 percent in 2010.
The race between Representative Edward J. Markey, a Democrat, and Republican Gabriel Gomez faced tough competition for voters’ attention from the get-go.
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