EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

September 17, 2013

Early voting slow in Lawrence


---- — Turnout was slow this morning for Lawrence's preliminary election, which will decide which two candidates face off for mayor in Lawrence. Mayor William Lantigua is facing five challengers.

City officials expected a 25 percent voter turnout.

"It's been low thus far," election warden German Lenbert said at South Congregational Church. "It's going to have to really pick up for it to reach 25 percent."

However, some believe voter turnout will spike as the day goes on. Polls are open until 7 ton

"I have been told by 2 p.m. it will be an avalanche of people," election warden Dionis Mezavita said at Arlington Middle School. "It's been kind of slow and lazy so far."

"You never know in Lawrence. One election we get a high turnout and the next it is low. It's pretty much a guessing game," Lenbert said.

Some voters thought the turnout rate will be on the high end given the stakes of the election.

"I know a lot of people want to get Lantigua out so I think it will be higher than usual," Lawrence resident Ines Avllan said at South Congregational Church.

Allvan said she voted for Daniel Rivera.

"I believe in young people. I think he has a vision for this city," she said.

Allvan said she has known Rivera for years because he went to school with her daughter.

"He has the moral character I would like to see in my mayor."

Jason Given agreed.

"I liked his background more than the other candidates," he said.

Given voted for Rivera at South Lawrence East School.

"I think he can bring a change to the city which is what we need. I heard good things about him." Given said.

Henry Semore voted for Rivera as well.

"He's neighbors with my cousin," Semore said. "He seems to be a good guy."

Semore said he wants to see Lantigua leave office as soon as possible.

"He was a mistake," he said. "He has done nothing good for the city."

Semore believes the Latino population in the city will be the determining factor in this election.

"They seem to be divided so it will be interesting what happens tonight," he said. "Those are the votes that are going to make or break someone."

Four of Lantigua's challengers are Latinos.