When they lived in Hyde Park Boston, sisters Molly and Martha Duboux said early in-person voting was held in loud and crowded areas with many people participating.
When they moved to North Attleborough in July and decided to vote early in August, they were surprised to find very few lines and noise in the basement of Town Hall where ballots were being filled.
“It is very different here,” Martha Duboux said. “It is quieter than Boston, and very few people are voting right now.”
Duboux’s description is accurate, as few in North Attleborough are taking advantage of early voting this year. Early voting for the Massachusetts Primary election began on Aug. 27 and runs until Sept. 2. Voters also have the option of submitting their ballot by mail.
Patricia Dolan, the town’s election coordinator, said turnout has been down in other municipalities as well. She estimated that as of the afternoon of Aug. 30, only 25 people had voted that day. Dolan said approximately 3,200 mail-in ballots were sent to voters. Of those, only half have been returned. She added that many voters are unenrolled right now, and may not know they have a choice between Democrat and Republican, waiting until the General Election.
“It’s down everywhere,” Dolan said. “Not many people are interested in voting early right now.”
Per the North Attleborough town web site, approximately 6,473 people voted in the 2020 state primary elections. Of these, 4,956, voted in the Democratic primary, which had two contested races for Senate and the House of Representatives’ 4th congressional district seat.
Many politicians this year, such as gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Maura Healey, are all running unopposed in the primary. There is a contested race for the Republican gubernatorial nominee between former state Rep. Geoff Diehl and businessman Chris Doughty. On average, polls have shown Diehl with a comfortable lead against Doughty and is the favorite to win the primary.
Due to a lack of competitive races at the top of the ticket, many voters are not as excited by candidates compared in 2020. John Carter, a North Attleborough resident, said one politician he liked was congressman Jake Auchincloss (D) who was elected in 2020.
“I like Jake,” Carter said. “I’m happy to vote for him again. He’s right on a lot of issues I think.”
Auchincloss is running unopposed in the primary, but face write-in cadidate David Cannata in the general election on Nov. 8.
For others, like Molly Duboux, the purpose of voting is not about the candidate but rather having the right to go to the ballot box.
“It is our right to vote and we should vote,” she said. “We don’t know much about the candidates but it is still our right to go and vote regardless.”