Early voting seen as very low in Boston

Just over 9,000 voters cast primary ballots in Boston by 9 a.m. Tuesday, down 60 percent from the same timeframe four years ago, when a contested gubernatorial primary topped the Democratic ballot.

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In the first two hours of primary voting, 2.47 percent of Boston’s electorate had cast ballots, according to figures compiled by the city and delivered to Secretary of State William Galvin’s office. In 2006, 6.17 percent of the electorate had cast votes by 9 a.m. The polls opened at 7 a.m.

West Roxbury’s Ward 20 boasted the highest morning turnout in the city, with 5.09 percent of voters casting early ballots. Ward 8, encompassing portions of various Boston neighborhoods, featured the lowest turnout with 1.4 percent of eligible voters casting ballots.

Also near the top: Wards 6 and 7 in South Boston, with 4.3 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively. Beacon Hill’s Ward 5 ranked near the bottom, with 1.64 percent of voters turning out for early morning voting.

There were few voters out early Tuesday morning at a polling location in Boston's Back Bay near Berklee College. At a separate polling place in the Boston Public Library, sign-holders passed out campaign literature but said few had cast ballots in the pre-9 A.M. voting hours.

The crawl of morning voting came despite active state Senate primaries for Boston-area senators Sonia Chang-Diaz and Steven Tolman -- each facing a single challenger -- as well as a Congressional primary between Democratic incumbent Stephen Lynch and challenger Mac D'Alessandro.

Voters will decide a slew of primary races Tuesday, although the only contested statewide primaries are for the open auditor and treasurer posts. Democrats and Republicans are waging primaries for auditor. Two of Democrats are vying for treasurer. Eight Congressional seats feature multiple Republican candidates.