The polls closed and the tallying of votes has begun in the special election primary to succeed Edward J. Markey in Congress.

Turnout throughout the day was slow in many of the 24 cities and towns to the north and west of Boston that make up the Fifth Congressional District.

In the portion of the Cambridge that sits in the district, just nine percent of voters eligible to cast ballots in the primary had voted by 3 p.m., according to Lesley Waxman, assistant director of Cambridge Election Commission.

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Turnout in Lexington and Medford was also low, officials there reported.

The district covers all of Arlington, Ashland, Belmont, Framingham, Holliston, Lexington, Lincoln, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Natick, Revere, Sherborn, Southborough, Stoneham, Waltham, Watertown, Wayland, Weston, Winchester, Winthrop, and Woburn. Portions of Cambridge and Sudbury are also in the district.

Seven Democrats and three Republicans are vying to succeed Markey.

The Democratic candidates are: State Senators Katherine Clark of Melrose, Karen Spilka of Ashland and Will Brownsberger of Belmont; Rep. Carl Sciortino of Medford; Middlesex Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian of Waltham; Martin Long, an Arlington author; and Stoneham resident Paul John Maisano, who works in the construction industry.

The three Republicans running for their party’s nomination are: actuary Tom Tierney of Framingham, Harvard nanophysics researcher Mike Stopa of Holliston, and businessman and lawyer Frank J. Addivinola Jr. of Boston.

The special general election is Dec. 10. The Democratic nominee will be favored in that contest as the partisan makeup of the district tilts heavily Democratic.