WORCESTER — More city residents voted in Tuesday's state election than in any other non-presidential election since 1990, even though there were few tightly contested races on the local ballot.
According to unofficial election results, 49,494 voters cast ballots in the election. That represents 44.5 percent of Worcester's 111,210 registered voters.
In comparison, only 38,979 people (35.89 percent) voted in Worcester in the last "midterm" state election in 2014.
Meanwhile, 43,324 (46.05 percent) voted in the 2010 state election and 42,268 (45 percent) voted in the 2006 election. Turnout in Worcester for both of those elections was boosted in part by the fact that former Mayor Timothy P. Murray was on those ballots as a candidate for lieutenant governor.
Of the people who voted, 40,430 went to the polls on Tuesday to vote, while 9,064 voted during the 12-day early voting period prior to Election Day.
The only other time more people voted in a non-presidential year election in Worcester was in 1990, when 53,009 people voted in that year's state election.
That election featured a highly competitive gubernatorial race between Republican William Weld and Democrat John Silber, as well as contests for U.S. Senate, Congress, two highly competitive state Senate races and three competitive state representative races.
In comparison, this year's state ballot in Worcester featured one-sided races for governor and the state's other constitutional offices, as well for U.S. Senate and Congress.
Locally, four of the five contests for state representative were uncontested, with the only competitive race being the one for the 17th Worcester District seat that was won by David LeBoeuf.
Also, the races for the two state Senate seats in Worcester were uncontested, with the incumbents (Harriette L. Chandler and Michael O. Moore) winning re-election.
Of the remaining contests on the ballot, the most high profile one was for district attorney, with incumbent Democrat Joseph D. Early Jr. easily defeating Blake J. Rubin.
The only other times more people voted in Worcester were in presidential election years.
In 2016, for instance, more than 61,000 people (63 percent) voted; while 61,708 (59.46 percent) voted in 2012; 61,808 (59.94 percent) voted in 2008; and 56,951 (56.02 percent) voted in 2004.
The number of people who voted in municipal elections has not topped 22,000 since 2000.
City election officials point to two key contributing factors to the noteworthy turnout for Tuesday's election.
One is the fact that the number of registered voters in Worcester (111,210) is at its highest level in the city's history. The previous high-water mark for the number of registered voters was 108,593 in 2014, the year of the last midterm state election.
In addition, officials said that early voting played in role in boosting the overall turnout figure.
While no one can say for sure whether all the 9,064 people who voted early would have gone to the polls on Tuesday if there was no early voting, officials said it is clear that turnout did benefit to a degree by giving voters an opportunity to vote before Tuesday.