Low voter turnout on Primary morning

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Outside the Ward 6 polling place at approximately 11:45 a.m. – photo/Andrew Sylvia

MANCHESTER, NH  – It’s Municipal Primary Election Day in Manchester, although most of Manchester may not have gotten the memo.

Traffic was low throughout the city, with the Manchester City Clerk’s office estimating approximately 15 percent voter turnout by the end of the day if the morning’s rate continues. In comparison, the 2017 Municipal Primary Election had approximately 19 percent voter turnout.

At Henry J. McLaughlin Middle School (Ward 6), Moderator Louise Gosselin reported 377 voters by 11 a.m., one of the slowest turnouts she’s seen during her 25 years.

No waiting in Ward 4 (McDonough Elementary School) at lunch time on Primary Election Day.

“Very slow,” she said. “We had an outstanding state election last year where we were very busy. I think people are not interested or they don’t feel like there’s any reason to come out and vote, I don’t know.”

Ward 5, like Ward 6 has a contested primary, with incumbent Alderman Tony Sapienza facing two opponents. However, throughout the morning only Sapienza was outside the Beech Street School to greet voters.

Sapienza said he spoke to several constituents throughout the morning on topics facing the neighborhood such as parking and running businesses in residential areas.

“I’m very hopeful and I don’t take anything for granted, so that’s why I’m out here all day. Voters can come up to me and talk to me if they want,” he said.

The Sapienza team hard at work! – photo/Andrew Sylvia

Manchester Board of School Committee Member Lisa Freeman was also at the Beech Street School in the morning, holding signs for mayoral candidate Victoria Sullivan.

Freeman, who has lived in the Ward for 21 years, will be on the ballot in November against Jeremy Dobson.

“Primaries are usually pretty anticlimactic, you don’t see a heck of a lot of people standing out here for either party, so you just stand out here to get energized for the general (election),” she said. “I’m not seeing anything hugely substantial.”

But even with the lower turnout, Freeman appreciates the opportunity to meet with neighbors and talk with them about the issues.

“It’s nice to be out here and see people in the ward you don’t ordinarily see,” she said.

Sudi Lett manning the voting machine at Ward 4. Photo/Carol Robidoux

There was no waiting at Ward 4 for registration or voters. Sudi Lett was standing by to assist voters sliding ballots into the voting machines and everything was running smoothly as of 1 p.m.

“We just need people to come out and vote,” Lett said.

The only lunchtime rush was Brenda Lett, who was carrying in pizza for election officials, who would be putting in a long day.

Outside McDonough Elementary School, which is the poll location for Ward 4, there was a friendly contingency for both Mayor Joyce Craig and opponent, Victoria Sullivan.

Supporters holding signs for Victoria Sullivan outside McDonough School, Ward 4. Photo/Carol Robidoux

Polls will be open until 7 p.m., with vote tallies expected at approximately 10 p.m. Manchester Ink Link will have results as soon as they become available.

For the Manchester Ink Link Primary Day Voter Guide, click here.

Mayor Joyce Craig’s contingency holding signs outside Ward 4 polling station, McDonough Elementary. Photo/Carol Robidoux