Early Voting Totals Lower Than Expected on Cape Cod

HYANNIS – There is one more day to vote early for the presidential primary in Massachusetts and town clerks on Cape Cod are reporting lower than expected turnout.

Early voting opened across the state on Monday.

Just under 400 votes were cast in Dennis by mid-day Wednesday, a 3.2 percent turnout, and Barnstable reported just under 500 votes over the first two days.

Dennis Town Clerk Theresa Bunce said there were about 3,500 people who voted early before the November 2016 election, but that was over a two week period.

“I was expecting a lot lower turnout [than in 2016] but I was hoping that we would still have a lot more just to get the ball rolling,” Bunce said.

This is the first time Massachusetts has had early voting for a presidential primary.

“We didn’t really have anything to compare it to,” Bunce said. “I was hoping that we would still have more that would turnout.”

Bunce said despite the lower than expected turnout more early votes have been cast in Dennis compared to other towns across the state.

“It looks like we are doing a lot better than a lot of other towns,” she said. “Some of the towns, even on the first day they were lucky if they only had 45 people show up. For us to be over 200, I think that was pretty good.”

Barnstable Town Clerk Ann Quirk said early voting in the town was moving along nicely. The town had 249 votes cast on Monday and 250 on Tuesday.

“They are not as high as we have had in previous times,” Quirk said.

Quirk said turnout may be down because voters still haven’t made up their minds.

She said there was one resident who came in and asked for an absentee ballot. Quirk told her she could vote right there, but the woman said she didn’t know who she was going to vote for yet.

Quirk said the people who have taken advantage of early voting like the process.

“They want us to continue,” Quirk said. “It’s a convenience.”

Quirk said if more people show up on the last day, it will make it easier for voters on Election Day.

“We have some nice weather. Come in and vote,” Quirk said.

Bunce wants to remind the public that once an early vote is completed it is a cast ballot and it cannot be changed.

“You can’t go and change your mind on March 3 on the presidential primary day and say ‘I don’t want my early vote to count. I’d rather come in person to vote,’” Bunce said. “Once you early vote that is a cast ballot.”

Bunce hopes the turnout for the primary is as high as possible.

“This is a voter’s right to have their input on the voting process,” she said. “And I would like to see the number get up there whether it be early voting or on Election Day.”

Voters on Cape Cod will be able to visit their town hall during normal hours Friday to vote in a party primary.

Registered voters will be checked in and receive a ballot. When ballots are completed, voters will enclose them into a sealed, signed envelope to be counted on Election Day.

For early voting locations and hours for every town in Massachusetts, visit sec.state.ma.us.

Along with the presidential primary races, the ballots will also feature candidates for the Plymouth and Barnstable State Senate.

A special election is being held to fill the spot vacated by Vinny deMacedo in November. He left the seat to accept a position at Bridgewater State University.

Jay McMahon and Jesse Brown and republican candidates for the seat. Rebecca Coletta, John Mahoney Jr., Thomas Moakley, Susan Moran and Stephen Michael Palmer are squaring off in the democratic primary.

The ballots will also include races for both parties Cape & Islands state committeeman and committeewoman.

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