City Clerk Michael Matarazzo said this week that he is expecting about 3,500 voters to make their way to the polls next Tuesday, March 5 for the Special Primary Election to replace disgraced former State Representative Stephen “Stat” Smith, who was convicted of voter fraud in January.
“I could see it go up to about 4,000, because of all of the candidates in the race, if they all do a good job of getting their voters to go to the polls,” added Matarazzo.
Matarazzo based his voter turnout prediction on previous voters turnouts in special elections in Everett.
In the special election for State Senator in 2007, the city had 3,100 voters head to the polls in what was eventually a win for Cambridge resident Anthony Galluccio. Just two years later, in a special election to replace Galluccio, just over 3,600 voters went to the polls for Senator Sal DiDomenico.
According to Matarazzo, the biggest difference this time around is that the race is for an Everett only seat, with Everett only candidates.
Another driving factor in the turnout, could be the number of absentee voter ballots that are turned in. Especially in light of the fact that former Rep. Smith was convicted of a scheme to defraud voters by conspiring to turn in fraudulent absentee ballots during previous elections in 2009 and 2010.
Clerk Matarazzo said that extra attention has been paid by his staff to all requests for absentee ballots that have been received. Additionally, this year the city has enacted new measures to help safeguard against the kind of voter scheme that was perpetrated by Smith.
“I think we’ve received 200 absentee ballots for the special election this time,” noted Matarazzo, who also said that the extra measures developed by the city to safeguard against the abuse of absentee balloting have been effective.
“It’s not that we want to discourage anyone from using absentee ballots if the need to, we just want people to be careful,” he said.
The five democrats in the race are vying for a spot in the Special General Election, on April 2, 2013, where they will face off against two Independent candidates.
The five democrats on the ballot next Tuesday include former Mayor John Hanlon, Aldermen Michael Mangan and Joseph McGonagle and Common Councilors Sergio Cornelio and Wayne Mattewsky.
Polls will open in Everett at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. For information about your proper voting location, please contact the Everett City Clerk’s office.