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November 1, 2013

Low interest favors low turnover in Lawrence races

LAWRENCE — Whoever wins the mayoral race in Tuesday’s election could be working with a City Council where all nine members have at least two years of experience.

The seven incumbent councilors on the Tuesday’s ballot posted substantial leads in last month’s preliminary election. Three former city councilors were among the top four candidates competing for the three councilor-at-large seats.

Unless there’s a major shift in voter preference of incumbent councilors or candidates with prior service, the council that takes office in early January will have its lowest turnover in years.

The council will definitely lose its two most influential members — President Frank Moran and Vice President Daniel Rivera. Moran is leaving after six years to spend more time being a state representative, while Rivera is challenging Mayor William Lantigua.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 5. The preliminary election drew close to 33 percent of the registered voters.

Besides the mayor and council races, voters will elect six district candidates for the Lawrence School Committee and three members to the Greater Lawrence Technical School Committee.

Both school races are marked by a shortage of candidates. In four of the School Committee races, three incumbents and one newcomer are running unopposed. Only three candidates are running for the three Lawrence seats on the vocational school board.

Lack of a voter choice is also evident in half of this year’s district council races. District C incumbent Kendrys Vasquez, District B incumbent Estela Reyes and District F incumbent Marc Laplante are on the ballot unchallenged.

Voters in the District C Arlington Neighborhood — the city’s poorest district — stands to gain the most clout on the council. Three former District C councilors are among the top front-runners for the at-large races.

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