Massachusetts voters trickled to the polls Tuesday to make their voices heard in a series of hard-fought primary elections that will determine who represents Massachusetts’ 6.9 million residents.
The polls closed at 8 p.m.
On the ballot: races for governor, secretary of state, district attorney, state Legislature, Congress, and more. (Click here to find out where to vote.)
By 3 p.m., just over 12 percent (or 49,345) of Boston’s registered voters had cast ballots.
At the City Hall polling station, Sarah Sagan, 27, said she was motivated by City Councilor Ayanna S. Pressley’s bid to unseat Representative Michael E. Capuano of Somerville in the Seventh Congressional District, even though she couldn’t cast a vote in that race.
“It’s an exciting moment for primaries in general,” Sagan said.
Walter Crowley, 80, of Beacon Hill said he was particularly interested in the race for the secretary of state. “I won’t tell you who I voted for,” he said, with a smile.
Michael Taylor, 70, exited through the glass revolving door with his 22-year-old daughter, Sara. Both were wearing stickers on their chests that stated “I voted.”
“I’ve voted in every election since I was her age,” Taylor said. “I would have voted no matter what.”
Bob Yelton, 77, was one of two campaign volunteers for Suffolk district attorney candidate Shannon McAuliffe stationed outside of the side door at City Hall. When a person approached the entrance to vote, he’d hand them a business card with McAuliffe’s name on it, or holler over at them and ask them to vote for her.
“I thought it would be busier than this,” he said.
It was 7:40 a.m.
“Maybe it will be,” he added.
The Secretary of State’s office said no voting problems or irregularities had been reported.
On the day after the Labor Day holiday — an unusual time for a primary election — turnout could be lower than normal as people scramble to get back to work and get children ready for school.
At the Lincoln-Hancock Community School in West Quincy, the only signs Tuesday morning that there was an election were the two plastic sandwich boards announcing Vote Here.
Not that there were many confused voters — or any voters at all. Just past 8 a.m., the polling place was empty, just like outside. No volunteers planted along the driveway with signs. Plenty of parking spaces in the lot and no wait to check in or out.
Turnout was so light at the smallest of Medford’s sixteen precincts — Ward 4, Precinct 1, which overlaps with Tufts University — that poll workers were razzing one another good-naturedly about the low turnout and sleepy atmosphere.
“Look alive, ladies!” one of the check-in inspectors called to a counterpart at the check-out table when the 120th voter of the day arrived at 1:45 p.m., nearly seven hours in. “We’ve got a customer!”
Outside, there were no campaign volunteers and just two signs — for Jimmy Tingle and Donna Patalano, Democrats running for lieutenant governor and Middlesex DA, respectively. Each of the signs had blown over.
Sitting on a camp chair beside the entrance to the university fieldhouse that hosts the precinct, second-generation warden Sharon Bourque said she wasn’t surprised by the light turnout. The students who comprise much of the precinct — otherwise a densely settled mix of long-timers and young families priced out of Somerville — tend to vote locally only in presidential years, Bourque said.
Though she likes to see participation, Bourque was hardly complaining. In 2016, turnout was so high and the scene so harrying that Bourque is convinced it contributed to the heart attack she suffered that night, when she left by ambulance before the polls closed.
“One hundred and twenty-six,” Bourque said, checking the turnout at 2:30 p.m Tuesday. “That’s good for us.”
Coming alone from class on the first day of the first semester, Tufts sophomore Catherine Gross, 19, acknowledged that few were talking about this election on campus. But as a first-time voter, she didn’t want to vote absentee back home (in Franklin), and she wasn’t about to blow off the election, researching each position and candidate online beforehand.
“I couldn’t pass up the opportunity,” said Gross, who kept her choices on the Democratic ballot private. “I researched and read news articles. It was interesting, and fun to get to do it for the first time.”
Voters in the GOP primary will decide which of three Republicans will face incumbent US Senator Elizabeth Warren — who doesn’t face a primary challenge — in November’s contest. Former Romney administration official Beth Joyce Lindstrom, businessman John Kingston, and state Representative Geoff Diehl are all vying for the nod. One independent candidate, Shiva Ayyadurai of Belmont, is also running for US Senate.
Republican primary voters will also weigh in on the race for governor, where Charlie Baker faces a longshot challenge from Springfield pastor Scott D. Lively, best known for his antigay views.
On the Democratic side, former state budget chief Jay Gonzalez and environmentalist and entrepreneur Bob Massie are in the hunt for the corner office, hoping for their party’s blessing to, presumably, take on Baker in November.
Two of the highest-profile races in recent months have been for Congress.
Representative Niki Tsongas is retiring, and 10 Democrats are vying to succeed her in the Lowell-anchored Third District. Whoever wins the primary contest is set to face Republican businessman Rick Green and independent Michael P. Mullen of Maynard in November.
Among the other contests of note:
■ a Democratic primary for secretary of state in which City Councilor Josh Zakim is aiming to snatch the nomination away from William F. Galvin, the longtime incumbent.
■ a five-way Democratic race for district attorney in Suffolk County.
■ several legislative contests in Boston-anchored districts, in which Democratic primary challengers are hoping to unseat longtime incumbents by running to their left.
At Cristo Rey High School in Dorchester, voters trickled in on their way to work, but no one had to wait in line. In the school library that was turned into a polling place for the day, a large fan was already blowing the air around, in anticipation of another long, hot, and muggy day.
Two young men — both unenrolled voters — kibitzed about which party’s ballot to take.
“I always take the one with the more interesting races,” one advised the other.
“So which one is that?”
“Not sure yet.”
A few blocks away, on Dorchester Avenue, a supporter of Linda Champion, candidate for Suffolk district attorney, waved a flier for her candidate, drawing mild interest from the commuters in cars backed up at the red light.
Outside the Catherine F. Clark Apartments, activists held signs for a variety of candidates and causes, including a ballot question about nurse staffing levels at hospitals. But that issue won’t actually be decided Tuesday; voters will have to wait until November to weigh in.
At the Curley School in Jamaica Plain, several candidates came to make a last-minute pitch to voters, including Rachael Rollins, who is running for district attorney in Suffolk County, and Nika Elugardo, who is challenging incumbent Jeffrey Sanchez to become the next state representative in the 15th Suffolk/Norfolk District.
Elugardo, who greeted voters with a bright smile and handshakes, spoke about her positions on education, climate change, and affordable housing. After a few hours of campaigning by the polls, she said she was entertaining a new position.
“I think dogs should have the right to vote,” she joked while petting a golden retriever.