Special Elections Being Held in Massachusetts Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Special elections are being held in Massachusetts Tuesday for two vacant seats in the State Senate.

Democratic state Rep. John Velis is running against Republican John Cain for former Sen. Don Humason Jr.'s seat representing a district in Western Massachusetts. Humason was elected as mayor of Westfield last fall.

And for former Sen. Vinny deMacedo's seat in Eastern Massachusetts, Republican Jay McMahon is running against Falmouth Selectman Susan Moran, who is a Democrat. deMacedo has since accepted a job at Bridgewater State University.

The district in Eastern Massachusetts covers towns in Plymouth and Barnstable Counties, including Plymouth, Sandwich, and Falmouth. The district in Western Massachusetts covers multiple cities, including Westfield, Holyoke, and Southwick.

The polls are open until 8 p.m. Tuesday in both districts.

Secretary of Commonwealth William Galvin told WBZ NewsRadio that these elections are a "prototype for our activities in the fall," amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Galvin, there are still people who are voting in-person today and his office is working to make sure it is safe when they come to the polls.

"We’re making sure there’s protocols in place in terms of personal protective equipment, disinfectant, cleanliness, and spacing of course amongst the voters," Galvin said.

Galvin said that because these are special elections the voter turnout is expected to be lower than usual. "I would say a 20 percent, 25 percent turnout would be a very good number," he said.

Because of the pandemic, many were able to vote by mail if they were concerned about showing up in person to vote and risk exposure to the virus.

"But it's also important we maintain early actual voting as well because some people can't vote by mail for whatever reason, or they didn't decide to vote until later on," Galvin said. "These numbers on turnout today obviously will not be as high as what we'll see come September and November. But, we're checking over the procedures where the local clerks are having the experience of seeing how things work for people working the polls or experiencing the new procedures."

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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