Voter turnout was exceptionally low in Braintree on Thursday, with 8.1 percent of the registered voters casting ballots.
According to City Hall records available on the city's website, of the 24,393 voters registered, 1,998 were counted.
In August, Town Clerk Joseph Powers expected a turnout of about 15 percent, which he called an extremely low figure.
Yet with contested races for Governor’s Council and County Commissioner on the Democratic ballot, and only a contested race for a seat in the US House on the Republican side, there wasn’t enough competition to bring people out to vote.
“There were a lot of hardcore voters that didn’t go yesterday…the day and date change certainly confused some folks. The lack of races kept other folks away,” Powers said.
Overall, it’s a disheartening number, Powers said, especially since a primary election typically costs the town $8,000 to $10,000, regardless of the turnout.
“I’m disappointed. I believe that elections, no matter how lightly or heavily contested they are, are important and necessary. I’m disappointed that I was the town clerk that presided over a low turnout. I believe it’s the lowest in modern history for Braintree,” Powers said in a phone interview Friday.
While few people cast a vote Thursday, many came in to register to vote during the election, pointing to what should be a much larger turnout in November for the elections for president and US Senate.
“I know we will be on the opposite side of the spectrum in November,” Powers said. “Everything pretty much went pretty well, all things considered. I think as far as election officers, we will chock up yesterday’s election as an opportunity to practice for November.”
To view the unofficial election results from Braintree, click here. Official results will be available Monday.