GROTON -- Voting was slow but steady at the town's two polling stations during the June 25 special election.
The ballot included only a single race, that for United States Senator, a seat that opened up earlier in the year when John Kerry gave up his long time position to accept an appointment as Secretary of State by President Barrack Obama.
But without the draw of a presidential election or even a slate of local candidates seeking office, turnout on a day when temperatures reached the high 80s was expected to be light.
"Based on the number of absentee ballots, it's about as I expected," said Town Clerk Michael Bouchard of turnout for the special election. "Traffic was pretty steady the whole day. There were no big rushes or big lulls."
In the end, a total of 7,691, or 32 percent, of the town's registered voters cast ballots at the polls with only 10 votes being the difference between victory and defeat.
But that was enough for Democrat Edward Markey to declare victory in Groton.
By a vote of 1,225 to 1,215, local residents chose Markey over Republican opponent Gabriel Gomez with Twelve Visions Party candidate Richard Heos coming in a distant third with only 7 votes.
Although Markey's victory in Groton was won by a narrow margin, his total across the rest of Massachusetts reached the 10 percent mark, in line with pre-election polling data.
Groton followed the rest of Massachusetts in choosing the Democrat over the Republican
Reluctant to cite issues, many residents who appeared at either the Senior Center in West Groton or the former Prescott Elementary School building downtown to vote said that they cast their ballots out of a sense of civic duty.
"I vote every time because I feel it's part of what it means to be a citizen," said Eileen Cobleigh. "It's part of being a member of the community."
"I came to vote because I was taught in civics class how important one vote can be," added Carolann Sutton.
"I came out because I wanted to see a good senator in there," declared Luan Gilligan. "And besides, I see voting as my duty to the country."
Others, however, were more spirited in their motivations, wanting to see some kind of change in Washington that might shake the capitol from its gridlock.
"I always vote, it's my civic duty," said Janet Landry Shea. "And I wanted a Republican in the Senate. I wanted change."
"I voted for all the usual reasons, the economy, jobs, war," admitted Sharon Cameron. "But what's happening with our country is what worries me the most. Things have taken a turn for the worse."
"I came out to vote because I feel like it was an opportunity to elect a new senator and even though it's only a special election, I felt it was my duty to vote," said Jeanna Cumnock. "I just hope that whoever is elected is willing to work with the other party as well as the current administration because things are not working the way they are now."
"I voted for Gabriel Gomez," revealed Ken Francois. "I come from an Air Force family and I know what values the military teaches. I really think Gomez has the right set of values to take to Washington. What really struck me was when he said Markey had served in Congress for 37 years and he wasn't really aware of what Markey has done in all those years. Gomez said the term will only be for 17 months so why not try someone new?"
Francois said that Gomez's qualities of military and business experience as well as his values would have made a fine mix for a senator.
Still others were frustrated over a wave of revelations out of Washington from the IRS targeting supposed enemies of the administration to charging news reporters with espionage to a vast expansion of electronic eavesdropping on millions of law abiding Americans to assaults on basic freedoms such as religion, speech, and the right to bear arms.
All they wanted to do was to get rid of anyone they saw as allowing it all to happen.
"I wanted to vote against the Democrats," said Scott Wayne bluntly. "That's the only reason I came out."