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Galvin predicts low turnout for Tuesday’s primary

Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff/File

“I would be happy to be wrong,” Secretary of State William F. Galvin said at a State House press conference. “I would be thrilled if we crest 600,000 tomorrow. But I am, at this point, skeptical.”

By Globe Staff 

Turnout for Tuesday’s election is expected to be very low, Secretary of State William F. Galvin said Monday, as he predicted that just 15 to 20 percent of eligible voters would cast ballots in the Democratic and Republican primaries for state offices.

Galvin pointed to months of polling that has showed little movement in the governor’s race to argue that there “hasn’t been a great deal of enthusiasm” for the marquee contest between Martha Coakley, Steve Grossman and Don Berwick.

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He also blamed a lack of competitive state House and state Senate races in many areas of the state, which can drive up voter interest.

Galvin said he expects those factors will hold turnout down to about 550,000 in the Democratic primary, which also features competitive races for attorney general and treasurer. That would be much lower than the 900,000 who voted in 2006, when Deval Patrick was running for governor for the first time and generated a huge amount of excitement among Democrats. Galvin’s forecast is higher, however, than the 487,000 who voted in the Democratic primary in 2010, when Patrick ran for reelection and was uncontested in the Democratic primary.

“I would be happy to be wrong,” Galvin said at a State House press conference. “I would be thrilled if we crest 600,000 tomorrow. But I am, at this point, skeptical.”

Galvin said he predicts about 165,000 to 170,000 votes will be cast in the Republican primary, which pits former health insurance executive Charlie Baker against businenssman Mark Fisher.

Galvin said his forecast is based on a variety of indicators of voter interest, such as requests for absentee ballots, and the number of people using his website to look up their polling place or check their voter registration status.


Michael Levenson can be reached at mlevenson@globe.com
Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson.