Polls are open in every Vineyard town today for a special state primary in the U.S. Senate race to fill the seat formerly held by Sen. John Kerry. There are three candidates seeking the nomination on the GOP side and two on the Democratic ticket. Low turnout is expected statewide in a race that has seen little spark.
Tisbury and Chilmark will also hold their annual town elections today.
Polls are open in every town from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Mr. Kerry stepped down in January to become secretary of state after serving as senator for 28 years.
Five men are on the ballot seeking party nomination to run for the spot. On the Democratic side, voters will chose between U.S. Cong. Stephen F. Lynch of South Boston and U.S. Cong. Edward J. Markey of Malden.
On the Republican primary ballot, there is a three-way race between Gabriel F. Gomez, a former naval special warfare lieutenant commander from Cohasset; Plymouth district attorney Michael J. Sullivan, who lives in Abington; and state Rep. Daniel B. Winslow of Norfolk.
The primary winners will face off in a June 25 special state election.
In Chilmark and Tisbury, voters will have few decisions to make; neither town ballot has a contested race.
Chilmark voters will be asked three ballot questions, two relating to school funding and maintenance. Question one asks whether the town can assess an additional $300,000 in real estate and personal property taxes to fund the up-Island regional school district’s operating budget, and another question asks whether an additional $80,000 in real estate and personal property taxes can be assessed for repairs to the Chilmark School.
The town is also seeking $31,000 in additional real estate and property taxes to purchase and equip a new police vehicle.
Jonathan E. Mayhew is running unopposed for his second term as a selectmen. Every other race is uncontested as well and there are no candidates for two spots on the finance committee, one spot on the cemetery commission and for surveyor of wood, lumber and bark.
Town clerk Jennifer Christy said last week there had not been many new voter registrations; 911 voters are eligible for the town election. For the special primary, 912 voters are registered.
“I don’t expect heavy turnout at all,” Mrs. Christy told the Gazette, though she said some of the ballot questions might spur interest.
The Tisbury’s ballot has a question about whether to fund a connector road between Holmes Hole and Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Roads, now a moot point after town meeting voted down the idea three weeks ago.
Selectman Tristan R. Israel does not have a challenger as he seeks his seventh term on the board. There are only two candidates vying for four three-year terms on the finance and advisory committee, and no candidates for two two-year terms on the same board.
“There’s not a whole lot of excitement out there that I can see,” town clerk Marion Mudge said. Voting will take place for the first time in the town’s new emergency services building.
Polling places are Aquinnah town offices, the Chilmark Community Center, the Edgartown town hall, the Oak Bluffs public library, the emergency services building in Vineyard Haven, and the West Tisbury public safety building.