Live blog - special election turnout

8:10 PM - Here's the updated table and map with the 6 PM turnout. Polls are now closed, and we'll update tomorrow with the final figures.

[table id=9 /]

7:10 PM - The 6 PM update is in. By and large, a similar pattern is holding in terms of where turnout is relatively higher and lower. The only obvious aberration is a sudden dropoff in turnout in Ward 2. Given overall similarities, no new maps this time, but here are a few updated charts.

First, overall turnout. As of 6 PM, just under 6,000 voters had cast ballots in Boston, compared to 13,582 in the same precincts in November of 2013.

compare 6


Also, there is a continuing decline in the strength of the relationship between the percent of white voters in a precinct and turnout in that precinct. What this indicates, roughly, is that non-white voters tend to vote later in the day. As such, the % of white voters becomes a steadily weaker predictor of turnout throughout the day. Nonetheless, a .76 correlation is still very strong, and indicates much higher turnout in precincts with more white voters.


5:22 PM - The areas with more minority voters do seem to be showing up in somewhat larger numbers later in the day today compared to earlier, as happened in the 2013 mayoral election.

Even so, it is clear today's electorate will be far whiter than was the case in November. Looking at where the largest drop-offs in turnout have taken place, the pattern clearly points to precincts with more voters of color.

The deeper red areas are where larger drop-offs in votes have occurred.  The border thickness represents  an increased percentage of non-white voters. Again, this is not an unexpected pattern, but the relationship in this case is quite strong.

5:02 PM - As noted in the prior update, turnout for today's special election is down considerably from the Boston mayoral election last November, when comparing the same precincts. Hardly surprising to be sure, but interesting to see how far it has dropped. The drop-off has not been uniform either in size or in proportion. The chart below shows turnout levels comparing November 2013 as of 3 PM to today as of 3 PM.


4:04 PM - 3 PM numbers are up, in the table and map below. As you can see from the chart, we're just south of 4,000 votes. At this point on election day in November in the Mayoral election, the wards and precincts voting today had tallied over 9,600 votes.

Time behind

1:18 PM - How different is a special election primary? Well, pretty different so far. One way to look at it is in terms of turnout. So far, 6.8% of eligible voters have cast a ballot as of noon today. In the same areas in November of last year, 17.8% of eligible voters had already voted. The chart below shows this same comparison, but with total number of votes.

1:00 PM - The noon turnout update has been posted. Updated tables and maps are below. Overall, the same ordering is holding in terms of the precincts that are turning out to vote in higher or lower numbers. We have added a few columns to allow you to sort and see where turnout has changed the most since the 9 AM update.

12:22 PM - While we wait on noon numbers, a quick update. A questioner on Twitter asked:


While I am not sure what the overall research says about this, it does seem that "TheWaitress" is on to something in terms of Boston voting patterns. The November 2013 Boston mayoral election numbers show majority-minority precincts making up a larger portion of the electorate at the end of the day than they did at the beginning. While it is likely the overall relationship between turnout and precinct demographics will still hold true at the end of the day today, it may not be as strong as it was at the 9 AM update.

11:10 AM - Based on the 9 AM update, it looks like we are again seeing lower turnout in Boston's minority precincts. We saw it in the November 2013 Boston mayoral election, the first time we specifically compared turnout to demographics at a precinct level. This time, the relationship is quite neatly linear as of the 9 AM update. It is a well-known phenomenon that lower turnout elections tend to produce whiter electorates. Nonetheless, such a strong relationship (correlation = .87) is striking.


10:35 AM - It's election day (again) in some parts of Massachusetts. Voters are going to the polls in primary elections to fill several vacant seats in the state legislature, including the State Senate seat of our newest Congressional Representative, Katherine Clark. In Boston, voters are replacing two longtime state reps: now-Mayor Marty Walsh and his new Corporation Counsel Gene O'Flaherty, who also represented parts of Chelsea.

The Boston Elections Department sends out regular, Election Day updates on voter turnout at 9 AM, noon, 3 PM, 6 PM, and final numbers after the polls close. These figures can tell us a lot about whose voters are making it to the polls, whose are not, and how the "ground game" is going. While we will not have turnout for the rest of the areas voting today, we will do what we can with Boston, providing you with regular updates on who is voting and how it is changing throughout the day.

First, the 9 AM update mapped... ...and in table form.