On the T today (Tuesday) I asked a Belmont friend whom he's voting for in the primary. He said, "Is that today?" He was not even sure who was running. This is a guy who is usually far more tuned in to Belmont issues than the average resident, and whose opinions I value on many local topics.
Statewide, turnout is expected to be light (Globe article over the weekend), but this really drove that point home. Despite increased visibility the past few weeks, with Hegarty, Rogers, and Reardon signs sprouting on lawns and Olson signs appearing in three decrepit storefronts in Cushing Sq, this race is not registering with many people.
Is Belmont really that disengaged? Or does this primary not matter that much? Perhaps my family is among the few who does not have a summer escape house at the Cape or NH?
Holding the primary a week later would get a more thoughful participation. This would give people a chance to get back from the summer mindset, the kids settled into school, and allow a few casual conversations among friends and neighbors. For most of us, a week or two is probably enough to study the candidates and make up our minds. At least the race for 24th Middlesex has been only one season (summer), far more merciful than year-long presidential races in this country.
The other contested offices themselves, Governor's Coucil and Middlesex Registrar of Deeds, are so mind-numbing that even political junkies find it difficult to get engaged. The more I research them, the more I'm convinced former should not even exist, and the latter is a public service position that should be just a professional hire. Nothing to excite voters here.
With more than a few speakers of the Mass House of Rep having spent time at the losing end of a judge's gavel, I can totally understand people reluctance to get really into State House politics. (Yes, that's putting it mildly.)
Although it is naive to think any single new member is going to make a huge change in a body of 140 Representatives, he or shecould at least perhaps incrementally move that body in the direction we want it to go, and maybe even force some answers and discussion from the autocratic leadership. So get out and vote on Thursday.