Galvin predicts lower Senate special election turnout than in 2009

Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin today predicted an overall lower turnout for Tuesday’s special US Senate primary election than in the same contest in 2009.

Galvin said he expected about 550,000 Democratic ballots would be cast Tuesday in the two-person contest, down from the 669,000 in the 2009 US Senate special primary election.

On the Republican side, he said he predicts about 200,000 people will cast primary ballots in the three-person race, up from 165,000 in 2009.

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The longtime secretary of state said requests for absentee ballots, a useful metric in predicting voter turnout, were down about 20 percent from the 2009 special.

“All elections are unique, but this one is a little more unique than most,” Galvin told reporters at a State House briefing. He noted heavy winter weather and the Boston Marathon bombings had left potential voters focused on issues beyond politics.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Galvin said he expected results to indicate “a trend developing” by around 10 p.m.

On the Democratic side, Representative Edward J. Markey of Malden will square off with Representative Stephen F. Lynch of South Boston.

The Republican contenders are private equity investor Gabriel E. Gomez of Cohasset, former US attorney Michael J. Sullivan of Abington, and state Representative Daniel B. Winslow of Norfolk.

The general election is slated for June 25.