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Mayoral campaigns set to pounce for signature drive

Campaign workers will wait outside City Hall in Boston, ready to distribute signature papers at polling places.
Campaign workers will wait outside City Hall in Boston, ready to distribute signature papers at polling places. (Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff/File 1997)Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff/File 1997

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Boston voters, beware: Clipboard-toting mobs are expected to stake out polling places during Tuesday’s primary election, not for the contests at hand, but to help candidates for mayor secure a spot on the fall ballot.

It promises to be a maelstrom of democracy, triggered by the collision of unrelated events. By happenstance, the primary election to fill John F. Kerry’s US Senate seat falls on the same day hopefuls can begin collecting signatures to get on the ballot in the race to succeed five-term Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

Political operatives are expected to line up at the Election Department the moment the clock strikes 9 a.m., to fetch the papers they need to gather voter signatures. Cars crammed with campaign workers will idle outside City Hall, ready to race across Boston.

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