November 5, 2013

Turnout remains high -- but who does it help? UPDATED

Mary Fortier, left, and Ellen Zoppo-Sassu,
right, pose Mary Fournier, 99
By noon, with six hours of voting done and eight more remaining, 15.5 percent of registered voters had already shown up at the polls. That compares to an 11.9 percent turnout for the municipal election two years ago that swept the GOP into power.
If the pattern holds for the rest of the day, overall turnout should be 37 percent or more -- a figure that hasn't been reached in a city-only election since 2005.
"I'm excited," said Republican mayoral candidate Ken Cockayne, standing outside Edgewood School late this morning. He said he's getting a great reception from people heading in to vote.
Voting appears especially heavy in the northern third of the city, in the 1st and 2nd council districts.
Jim Albert, right, and his father
Cockayne said that's "good for us" and likely indicates that people heard his pro-taxpayer message and are coming out to back him.
Ken Cockayne with supporters
Democratic council candidates Ellen Zoppo-Sassu and Mary Fortier, who were outside the Bristol Elks Lodge, said they are also getting good vibes from voters.
Republican council hopeful Jim Albert said he's having a good time standing outside the polls with his father and other backers.
Check back in a bit. I'm going to take a closer at the numbers and see what we can discern about patterns so far.
Updated at 1:10 p.m. -- There's no real telling until the votes are counted, but there's no doubt that much of the surge in voting interest is happening in the most Republican districts.
There are five precincts that are experiencing turnout that's higher than the city average today: Chippens Hill, Northeast Middle School, Bristol Eastern High School, Mountain View and Edgewood.
Four are seeing lower turnout: West Bristol, the Elks Lodge, South Side and Greene-Hills. The latter three make up the 3rd District, where Democrats have high hopes of securing City Council seats now held by the GOP.
Chippens Hill, which is leading the pack, is the most Republican-leaning precinct in the city. Northeast is also a GOP favorite.
But who can say what message those voters are sending? Nobody, until the results come in tonight.
Both parties are scrambling to get out their vote, recognizing that some races are bound to be close and every person's choices may ultimately be the deciding factor in who wins and who loses.

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