AP NEWS

Galvin: More than Half of Those Eligible Will Vote Tuesday

November 6, 2018

By Katie Lannan

State House News Service

BOSTON -- Of the nearly 4.6 million people who are eligible to vote, about 2.4 million Massachusetts residents are expected to vote Tuesday, according to Secretary of State William Galvin, who said the national context of the elections is more likely to drive people to the polls than the “intensity” of local races.

Galvin, the state’s top elections official, offered his turnout forecast and a security update at a press conference Monday. He said his office had detected some “minor” but unsuccessful efforts to access the elections system, characterizing them as “nothing that has not occurred or been attempted before” and reiterating that the voter registration system is not connected to the internet.

Galvin’s turnout prediction includes more than 584,000 voters who requested ballots during the early voting period that ended on Friday. Of the early voters, 55 percent were unenrolled, 36 percent were Democrats and 9 percent were Republicans.

More than 124,000 voters have also applied for absentee ballots, and Galvin said it’s “quite probable” that number will land around 130,000 after “a surge of inquiries” Monday morning.

The governor’s office, a U.S. Senate seat and three statewide ballot questions are among the races that will be decided Tuesday.

The state’s nine Congressional districts are all on the ballot. Four Democrats -- incumbent Reps. Richard Neal, Joseph Kennedy and Stephen Lynch, and Seventh District primary winner Ayanna Pressley -- will be uncontested Tuesday in a cycle where their party is vying to wrest control of the House from its current Republican majority.

Galvin said it’s “very difficult to project” turnout this year, partially because areas of the state that had busy primaries in September, such as Middlesex and Suffolk counties, are quieter in the general while areas with few primary contests, like Barnstable and Worcester counties, are now “very active.”

“But the other overriding factor, in all of the conversations we’ve had, all the inquiries we’ve had, has been the awareness on the part of the voters of this being a national election,” he said. “That is truly driving the turnout, I think. It’s not necessarily intensity of some of the statewide contests, because candidly some of them aren’t very intense, or the absence of legislative contests because there are many areas that have no legislative contests. It is the national awareness of this election that affects it even here in Massachusetts, where the races have been somewhat different in the way they’ve been approached by various campaigns.”

Galvin said the statewide ballot questions -- particularly Question 1, which would establish minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals -- and local questions like the ones that would green-light building projects in Needham and Belmont could also contribute to turnout.

A turnout of 2.4 million -- which would represent about 52 percent of registered voters -- would top the raw number of ballots cast in both 2010 and 2014, Galvin said.

For the state elections four years ago, there were 4,301,118 registered voters in Massachusetts and 2,186,789 of them cast a ballot on Election Day, a turnout rate of 50.84 percent. In 2010, 55.36 percent of the 4,190,854 registered voters went to the polls.

There are 4,574,967 people registered to vote in Tuesday’s elections. More than half -- 2,527,748 people, or 55.25 percent -- are not enrolled in any political party, while 1,514,607 people, or 33.11 percent, are registered as Democrats, and 471,383 or 10.3 percent are registered Republicans.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

All 200 state legislative seats are on the ballot, as are the constitutional offices of attorney general, auditor, treasurer and the secretary of state post Galvin has held since 1995.

Bay Staters will cast their votes on paper ballots, and Galvin said his office is monitoring the elections system “constantly” to guard against potential cyberattacks or other security threats.

“We’ve had, I would say, minor efforts to penetrate but none of them have been successful,” he said.

Those efforts to get into the system do not appear to be professional or coordinated, or to come from overseas, Galvin said.

Galvin’s Republican challenger, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum security director Anthony Amore, has pointed to elections security as one of the issues that prompted him to get into the race.

“Voters should know that Secretary Galvin had every opportunity since 2016 to safeguard our elections against hacking but instead chose to let the midterms pass by without any improvements to our election security systems,” Amore said in a statement. “I encourage all those voting in person to bring an ID just in case it’s needed, and volunteer to poll watch so voters receive the safe and secure election they deserve.”

AP RADIO
Update hourly