(Jeremy C. Fox photo)
By Jeremy C. Fox, Johanna Kaiser, and Patrick D. Rosso
At the Nazzaro Community Center in Boston's North End at lunchtime today, it was hard to tell the polls were open inside. There were no eager supporters outside and no candidate signs posted.
Inside, just before 12:30 p.m., there were only 92 votes cast in Ward 3, Precinct 2, and 79 votes in Precinct 3.
"This is slow," one poll worker said.
Outside, Prince Street resident Rosemary McAuliffe, who is in her 80s, said she cast her ballot in the US Senate race for Representative Stephen Lynch for personal reasons.
"I think they were both good candidates," she said of Lynch and fellow Democratic congressman Edward Markey, "but knowing Stephen, I voted for him."
Bob Ganley, 33, said he was registered as an Independent but was on his way to vote for Republican Dan Winslow.
The eight-year resident of the North End said he thought Winslow was "a little more of a mainstream, modern Republican" who would stand a good chance against a Democratic opponent.
"It seems like Winslow is more in the mold of a Scott Brown rather than a Rand Paul or Sarah Palin," he said.
He said he liked Winslow's focus on making government more efficient and his more progressive stances on social issues such as same-sex marriage, which could help him win over some Democrats as well as Independents like himself.
"He seems like somebody who would be a good person to go down there and represent a new Massachusetts, whereas Markey and Lynch just represent the old liberal guard," Ganley said.
Just before 1 p.m., two tall, sharply dressed men arrived at the community center to collect signatures for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, a mayoral candidate.
Brian Clendenin, 57, said he lives in Worcester County but works in Boston. He was optimistic that he could have a successful day despite the low turnout.
"We hope things will pick up here around the polling center," he said. "We'll put in a few hours here and see what we can do."
There were no signs of mayoral campaigning or signature gathering at the Back Bay's Emmanuel Church or Boston Architectural College, or the Symphony West building in the Fenway Tuesday morning.
Signs for mayoral candidate Martin J. Walsh, a state representative, hung outside Cathedral High School in the South End and at Boston Public Library in Copley square. A sign touting City Councilor Rob Consalvo for mayor was also posted outside the library.
Outside the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in the Back Bay, Irene Tayler, 78, and Saul Touster, 88, both retired and Democrats, said they voted for Markey.
"He's the better candidate," said Tayler.
"He's much more for Obama," said Touster. "Lynch is a qualifier."
Tayler said she wished more people were voting and noted the poll workers did not have much to do.
"Everybody is bored. It's too bad. It's an important election," said Tayler.
By 1:45 this afternoon, 265 people had voted at the Catherine F. Clark Apartments in Dorchester.
Carrie Cole, a 41-year-old bartender, said she voted for Markey and, in the 1st Suffolk state Senate race for Linda Dorcena Forry.
"Ed Markey is a longtime public servant, and Lynch's stance on women's rights definitely came into play," said Cole. She felt he wasn't supportive on women's issues.