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Low Turnout Expected

By Marian Hennessy-fiske

The lack of an extremely divisive issue will keep many voters away from the polls today, according to Cambridge election officials.

Turnout is expected to be less than half of the 40,100 registered voters, according to Teresa S. Neighbor, executive director of the Cambridge election commission.

"It's hard to predict, but everyone believes the turnout will be lower than 50 percent," Neighbor said Sunday.

Councillor Katherine said she has been impressing upon voters the importance of issues likely to come before the City Council this year.

Affirmative action, public safety and the budget are all important, she said.

But while these issues are important, they have not galvanized the electorate, said Artis B. Spears, chair of the Cambridge Election Commission.

"The candidates are doing a good job of addressing the issues, but they just don't have the voter following they did [in 1993] when rent control was around," Spears said.

Progressive council candidate Henrietta A. Davis said her campaign sides are hoping to maximize their efforts in counting voters in areas of historically high participation, such as the West Cambridge Brattle Street neighborhoods.

"I've done an analysis of various precincts, and there's a very high turnout in some--even 60 to 65 percent," she said.

Davis said voting rates would be depressed in lower-income areas, where tenants have moved from the city since the abolition of rent control by statewide referendum last November.

"New voters don't understand Cambridge issues," Spears said.

But Joseph G. Grassi, a moderate candidate for the Cambridge School Committee, said fewer voters have been displaced than progressive candidates charge.

"I think that's too minimal to even be an issue," he said

Davis said voting rates would be depressed in lower-income areas, where tenants have moved from the city since the abolition of rent control by statewide referendum last November.

"New voters don't understand Cambridge issues," Spears said.

But Joseph G. Grassi, a moderate candidate for the Cambridge School Committee, said fewer voters have been displaced than progressive candidates charge.

"I think that's too minimal to even be an issue," he said

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