As of 9:00 this morning, 13,171 people had voted in Boston, according to Boston Election Department data obtained by the Phoenix.
That suggests total turnout a little closer to the gubernatorial primary of September 2006 (close to 90,000) than to the last city-wide municipal preliminary in September 2005 (just over 40,000).
The makeup of the vote seems to be somewhere in between those two elections as well, which may be more important. In '06 -- thanks in large part to the Deval Patrick candidacy -- communities that seldom vote (minorities, younger adults, immigrants, etc.) made up a larger percentage of the total than they typically do in municipal elections. So, for example, heavy-voting Ward 20 (West Roxbury) made up roughly 15% of the total city vote in '05, but just 11% of the total in '06 -- mostly because voting in minority precincts was so much higher.
In the morning voting this year, Ward 20 accounted for about 13% of the total -- right in between.
There was little chance that minority precincts would match their '06 proportion of the city's vote -- there's no Deval on the ballot today. But it doesn't look like they're starting out lower than '05. What is up is morning turnout in Michael Flaherty's base of South Boston, where numbers are actually above what they were at 9:00 for the '06 gubernatorial primary. That may prove merely to be the higher motivation driving voters out earlier than usual -- or it could be an indication of a good day for Flaherty.
Perhaps more ominously, Ward 18 -- which includes Menino's home base of Hyde Park -- is not keeping up with Southie or West Roxbury, in numbers or percent of the city vote total. Again, that may or may not end up meaning anything at the end of the day, but for now it's got people in the challengers' camps a little energized early on this long, exhausting day.