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State Primary: Slow and Steady Turnout at the Polls

Election officials reporting a slow and steady turnout in Concord; more slow than steady in Lexington.

What a difference a race makes.

A little after 1 p.m. today in Lexington, the precinct 1 polling place at Cary Memorial Hall had not yet reached the 100 ballot threshold -- and that's counting 20 abstentee ballots. Across town at the polling places for precincts 8 and 9, the ballot-counting machines read triple that total.

The difference, election officials surmised, was that precints 8 and 9, as well as preinct 3, are part of the Third Middlesex District in which five Democrats and two Republicans in the race replace retiring state Sen. Susan Fargo, D-Lincoln.

Meanwhile, over in Concord, around 2 p.m., precincts 1 and 4 were both running well over 450 voters. Not only is Concord also a part of the Third Middlesex, but three candidates -- Democrats Joe Kearns Goodwin and Mara Dolan, and Republican Greg Howes -- call the town their home.

Lexington also has a few hometown candidates. Democrat Mike Barrett is among those seeking Fargo's senate seat, and Republican Jeff Semon is in a for the right to take on U.S. Rep. Ed Markey for his long-held seat in what's now the 5th Congressional District.

Concord voters also have a choice on their hands when it comes to Republican congressional candidates, as Carlisle's Jon Golnick and Westford's Tom Weaver are both seeking to challenge Congresswoman Niki Tsongas in the 3rd Congressional District.

There were some sign-holders out at polling places in each town. And poll watchers said the candidates have been making the rounds.

By mid-afternoon, at least those two precincts in Concord and Lexington precincts in the 3rd Middlesex were up around the 15 percent turnout mark, a decent number given some of the others being reported around Massachusetts.

No one was certain about the reason for the slow turnout. Was it the lack of choices, the Thursday primary, either, neither or both? But one thing every election official agreed upon was that the November elections -- with Obama v. Romney, Brown v. Warren and the ballot questions -- will be a different story altogether.

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