UPDATE: 7:50 PM
New Haven Democratic Registrar of Voters Shannel Evans did not answer when asked why only two people were trained to access the secretary of state’s data system, a main problem that slowed the registration process for hundreds of people lined up in City Hall.
Kevin Arnold, the moderator for the same day registration, said beyond the slow pace, there were no other issues there.
Democratic Town Chairman Vincent Mauro said several voting polls had problems with the machines as ballots that had gotten wet were not being processed.
Those votes were expected to be counted eventually, officials said.
UPDATE: 7:45 PM
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski addressed the concerns about same-day voter registration in New Haven and at the University of Connecticut in a series of tweets.
He noted those voters’ ballots should be counted as provisional ballots.
“The registration applications must be processed by 8pm,” Stefanowski tweeted. “We’re getting reports that THEY AREN’T EVEN PROCESSSING THEM and allowing them to vote without being fully registered.
“This is illegal and against the law.”
UPDATE: 7:20 PM
Residents, mainly Yale students, had to wait four hours to register to vote and then cast a ballot in a chaotic scene at City Hall on Tuesday.
“Let us vote,” chants rang out in the building while they waited, video shows.
As happened two years ago, there were not enough people inputting data into the Connecticut Secretary of State’s office to handle the influx.
Election officials could not explain why that was the case.
By 6 p.m., U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3, came by to try to help find a solution to get people registered before polls closed at 8 p.m.
Some 30 students from Yale Law School started passing out registration forms and taking photos of the students to try to speed up the process.
Calls also were made to Secretary of State Denise Merrill’s office when no one could produce more computers to enter the material on line.
UPDATE: 7:15 PM
Just over half of Norwalk voters have cast ballots as of 6 p.m., according to Registrar of Voters Stuart Wells. The city has received almost 26,800 ballots — or just over 50 percent of the almost 53,000 city voters.
UPDATE: 7:15 PM
Voter turnout reached 59 percent in Derby as of 7 p.m., according to City Clerk Marc Garofalo. The city has counted 3,820 ballots cast from the city’s 6,472 voters.
UPDATE: 7:05 PM
Hearst staff were allowed back into Stefanowski’s event after a discussion with campaign staff, reporter Kaitlyn Krasselt said.
Campaign staff relented after other reporters came Hearst’s defense, WNPR reporter Frankie Graziano wrote in a tweet.
UPDATE: 7 PM
Hearst Connecticut reporter Kaitlyn Krasselt and photographer Peter Hvizdak have been kicked out of Republican Bob Stefanowski’s election night watch party in Rocky Hill.Read Full Article
They were told “Hearst media is not welcome” and were asked to leave, Krasselt said.
UPDATE: 6:30 PM
Umbrella-toting voters dodged puddles on their way into Ridge Road Elementary School in North Haven to cast ballots Tuesday evening.
At 5:50 p.m., 2,481 voters had cast ballots in the two districts who had polling places at the school.
“This has been the busiest that I’ve seen it,” said Haaf, who reported no issues.
Bryan Reilly cast a ballot in North Haven after changing his party affiliation from independent to Republican for the first time in 40 years, he said. On Tuesday, he voted for his second favorite candidate for governor, Republican Bob Stefanowski.
“I like Oz (Griebel, a third party candidate for governor) a lot, but it’s one of these things where there is no way in hell he is ever going to get seated,” said Reilly. “He’s socially progressive but fiscally conservative, which is kind of what everybody wants… I ended up voting for Stefanowski because at least he is showing signs of fiscal responsibility.”
UPDATE: 6:30 PM
West Haven had strong turnout, with 12,904 of the city’s 27,356 registered voters — or 47.17 percent — voting as of 4 p.m. That was up from 32 percent at 1 p.m., 35.1 percent at 2 p.m., 38.4 percent at 3 p.m. and 42.5 percent at 4 p.m., staff members in the Registrar of Voters’ Office said.
The city’s voting process was relatively trouble-free, with the exception of backups at times among voters taking part in Election Day registration, said Republican Registrar of Voters Jo Ann Callegari.
UPDATE: 6:20 PM
Statewide voter turnout topped 42 percent just after 6 p.m. in the 100 towns that have reported voting data to the state so far, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
Not included in those turnout figures, however, are cities like Bridgeport, Danbury, Hartford, New Haven, Norwalk and Waterbury.
UPDATE: 6:05 PM
The voter count in Greenwich as of 6 p.m. has turnout at close to 61 percent and that comes after reports from all over the town’s 12 polling places that more voters than usual turnout.
Greenwich is typically close to 60 percent for midterm elections and it was able to exceed that with two hours left before polls close at 8 p.m.
“It’s been fantastic today,” town Republican Registrar of Voters Fred DeCaro III said. “We’ve had a very good day.”
DeCaro said turnout has been steady throughout town and even with the expected surge when people get home from work he was confident the town was prepared with enough ballots.
The town had ordered enough ballots for 80 percent turnout and there has had to be some shifting around. Democratic Registrar of Voters Michael Aurelia said that they were moving some spare ballots from districts that had them to be able to handle the turnout in District 1A and District 10.
“Turnout’s going to be more than I thought it would be,” Aurelia said late Tuesday afternoon.
The largest problem the town had with voting was at Greenwich High School where hundreds of teachers coming for a district-wide education conference day created traffic logistic nightmares at the start of Tuesday. Aside from that incident, DeCaro said there were a few other minor issues with the tabulators in District 1 and 7 but they were easily resolved as the districts all had backup machines on hand and the registrars brought them extra backups just in case of further problems.
UPDATE: 5:50 PM
Two hours before polls close, New Canaan voters surpassed the turnout from the 2014 gubernatorial elections with over 60 percent of registered voters casting their ballots.
The presidential elections in 2016 had 80 percent turnout, a number that doesn’t seem too far off now as voters, in fewer numbers than earlier today, continue to head to the polls.
UPDATE: 5:50 PM
In Stamford, canvassers for incumbent state Rep. Patricia Billie Miller, D-145, as well as Board of Education candidate Jackie Pioli, worked alongside her team.
Jeremy Newton, a Stamford resident campaigning for Miller, said he’d been promoting her at the polls since 9 a.m.
“I come from the same background as she comes from,” said Newton who was raised in the West Side. “She’s a great lady. I’ve heard a lot of good things about her.”
Newton said he’d seen a decent turnout throughout the day, despite on and off rain.
“This is just my community here,” he said. “They’re excited for her to be back in office. They want people to hear what’s going on in their world.”
Other voters at Westover expressed similar blue tidings. Raymond and Doris Garcia, Stamford residents for 15 years, said they usually come out to vote and usually for Democrats.
“They’re better than Republicans,” Doris Garcia remarked.
UPDATE: 5:35 PM
Secretary of State Denise Merrill said by 4 p.m. Tuesday voter turnout had climbed to about 40 percent — a good showing despite a rainy day.
And so far the secretary of state said no serious problems had been reported at polls across the state.
“Usually, rain depresses (the vote) but that does not seem to be happening tonight,” Merrill told reporters during a press availability at her Capitol office.
The main problem reported so far is damp ballots as voters, wet with rain, drip on the paper ballots. “The machines don’t like that,” Merrill noted.
Poll workers have had to feed the damp ballots into the machine several times, which slows down voting, she said.
Merrill added the state registered 50,000 young voters — those between 18 and 24 years old - prior to Tuesday’s election, the most since 2014 and an indicator that young residents are involved.
“It looks like they are showing up,” Merrill noted. Turnout in the cities also seems to be high, she said.
Mid-term elections typically draw about 55 to 65 percent of eligible voters. Many believe Tuesday’s vote will exceed that average.
UPDATE: 5:30 PM
While the gubernatorial race was at the forefront of many voters’ minds, some in Stamford seemed focused on other issues, such as education and question two on the ballot, which would require public hearings for the transfer or sale of state-owned properties.
“It’s a good thing,” said Doris Bournes, a resident of Stamford for over 40 years. “They shouldn’t have a right to do that without everyone knowing.”
Bournes, who was voting at Westover Magnet Elementary School in the late afternoon, said she votes often and with issues like health care and education in mind.
“I want to check the government,” she said. “The way it’s going, it’s not good for me or my family.”
Pat Kellogg, a Stamford native and public school teacher, said she was voting out of concern for education issues at the state level such as pensions and unions.
“I feel it’s my duty,” she said. “I’m an educator so I have a lot on the line. I want to make sure teachers have a voice. We always have something at stake.”
UPDATE: 5:20 PM
In New Haven, turnout is higher than usual, moderators in many polling places agree.
As of 4:33 p.m., 1,461 people had cast ballots at the District 10 polling place located at Wilbur Cross High School. That’s about 50 percent of registered voters in the district said Ryan Munden, moderator for district 10. In Districts 19-1 and 19-2 at Celentano Magnet School, a total of 799 people had cast ballots as of 4:52 p.m.
District 9 at Wilbur Cross High School did not have an accurate count of ballots cast because wet ballots, sudden from rain-covered voters, had gotten stuck in their vote tabulating machine. Poll officials were collecting the ballots in an auxiliary machine. The ballots would later be counted by a new machine delivered by the city election officials, the moderator, who refused to provide her name said.
Exiting Celetano Magnet School, Anton Bacote said although he didn’t vote in 2016, he wanted to vote in this election to support Democrats Ned Lamont, running for governor, and state Rep. Robyn Porter of New Haven.
“I just want to see a change in the state and the cities,” he said. “I guess, (Gov. Dannel P.) Malloy, he did a good job but we need a little better.”
Jason Wright, brought his daughter to vote with him at Wilbur Cross High School, and stuck his “I voted” sticker on his forehead.
“I vote in all elections,” he said. “I wanted to be sure to vote not for Bob Stefanowski because we simply need more money so we can be a better state… we need to pay those taxes for a reason because there are services that are very important.”
State Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, stood outside Wilbur Cross High School at 4:15 p.m. watching voters go in and out to vote.
“It looks encouraging so far,” he said. “Everyone was worried about the weather.”
Looney said political operatives had told Senate Democrats that 10,500 people had voted as of 11 a.m. in New Haven. At the same time in 2014, only 7,000 voters had cast ballots.
UPDATE: 5:10 PM
John Mosby had been under a tent outside of Odyssey Early Learning in South Norwalk for about five hours, braving the damp conditions to talk to voters as they entered the polling place.
“I’m here for all the Democrats and everybody,” Mosby said.
Mosby was there with Conan Robinson, who wore a shirt bearing the name of Travis Sims, the Democratic incumbent seeking re-election in the 140th District.
“The energy is good,” said Robinson, who started his day at 9 a.m. at Columbus School before coming over to the former Nathaniel Ely Elementary School, where turnout, as of 4 p.m, was the lowest of all the city’s polling places.
But those who had turned out were enthusiastic.
Kadian McDonald and Tyrone Hosang were both first time voters who had moved to the country in recent years.
Asked why she decided to vote, McDonald said the treatment of immigrants made her feel it was time to get involved.
“What’s happening today, to see little kids separated from their parents and held in camps,” McDonald said.
“I’ve been in the country for a number of years and I decided it was my right,” Hosang said. “It’s a great feeling.”
Jean Desmond said she votes in most elections, but was especially compelled because she feels the country is in a “crazy, crazy state.” She said she votes, in part, to set an example for her four kids.
Mosby, too, said the country could not go on divided as its been. He was there to encourage people of all views to vote.
“Just get out and vote, be part of the process. We cannot have this hate,” Mosby said.
UPDATE: 5:05 PM
Voters in Wilton are turning out at “above average” numbers, according to town registrar Annalisa Stravato.
Turnout is just under 50 percent as of 4 p.m., according to preliminary results from the town’s three districts.
At one polling location in town, moderators reported a long line of voters awaiting the opening of polls this morning — an occurrence that is rare, especially during midterm elections, Stravato said.
Despite the enthusiastic turnout numbers, residents casting ballots at Cider Mill School, the town’s District 2 polling location, were keeping their votes close to the best.
Of the few who stopped to talk, many confessed to voting strictly along party lines.
Republican Anthony Palumbo, 49, said he came out to the polls to “support his President.”
“It’s hard to know who to trust in the news — they’re lying on both sides, you could say,” he said. “I just support my President and want to give him as many Republicans on his side as I can,” he said.
Democrat Diane Jones, on the other hand, said she would also likely vote unanimously in favor of her party.
“I’m not someone who votes strictly down party lines, I like to be thoughtful about it. But, I also feel like there’s some power to it as well,” she said.
UPDATE: 4:45 PM
New Milford is expecting about 70 percent voter turnout this election, officials estimated at about 4:30 p.m.
The city had already hit 30 percent after the first few hours of polling and lines were out the door as soon as the polls opened at 6 a.m., according to the Registrars of Voters Office.
“It’s a heavy turnout, probably the heaviest,” the Registrars of Voters Office reported.
UPDATE: 4:40 PM
More than 12,500 residents had voted in Bethel as of 4 p.m. In-person turnout was at 47.8 percent, while an additional 3.6 percent of voters sent in an absentee ballot.
UPDATE: 4:30 PM
Voter turnout in Fairfield almost has matched the total turnout in the 2014 midterm elections.
“This Election Day is truly a referendum on hate and who will stand up against it,” Democratic Town Committee Chairman Steve Sheinberg said.
With a few districts missing from the 4 p.m. count, a total of 20,447 people had cast a ballot. In 2014, the total voter turnout was 20,998.
“In addition to our incredibly strong candidates, there is so much on the ballot this Election Day,” Sheinberg said, “including democracy itself.”
UPDATE: 4:10 PM
The Westover Magnet elementary school polling location in Stamford was filled with more cars and people than the building has been in the past week since it was closed for mold remediation. The line of voters at the building snaked around the lobby.
The location also served UConn Stamford students, several of whom showed up hoping for same day registration, only to be sent to government center.
Anthony Cavuoto, a UConn student from New Milford, said he didn’t want to drive the 90 minutes to vote in his hometown but was told he could register at his polling location before being sent to town hall.
“I wasn’t super informed until recently and the period for absentee passed,” he said. “I should vote and I want to.”
UPDATE: 4:05 PM
Voter turnout in Greenwich topped 50 percent just before 4 p.m. and officials expected a surge of more voters through the end of the day as people leave work for the day.
Just over 53 percent of the town’s 38,022 eligible voters cast their ballots as of 3:50 p.m.
The high turnout was a chance for Greenwich Democrats and Republicans to do some last minute campaigning as the parties set up tents at all of the town’s 12 polling locations to pass out literature and speak about the candidates. And far from political rancor on Election Day, that led to some cooperation.
When the rain started pouring heavily on Tuesday afternoon, Greenwich Republicans Frank Ambrogio and Philip Dodson said the Democrats helped them set their tent up to keep them dry outside of Cos Cob School which is the town’s District 8 polling location.
“I think everyone is really excited about voting,” Ambrogio said. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback and we’ve seen a lot of waves of a bunch of people coming through and it’s been very, very positive. It’s been so busy that we can’t actually keep track. This morning was a parade of people so thick that we couldn’t tell one from the next.”
The Democratic presence Tuesday afternoon at Cos Cob School in the pouring rain included one of the candidates. Laura Kostin, who is running for the 151st state representative position against incumbent Republican Fred Camillo, came out to speak to voters.
“I am absolutely giddy,” Kostin said. “I am so happy to see such a high turnout, even with this miserable weather. It’s pouring rain and people are still determined to make their voice heard. It’s wonderful to see. It’s very encouraging.”
And while it was unclear what impact the heavy turnout would have on the races, Democrats said they were at least encouraged by what they saw.
“The turnout has been tremendous and I would say it has seemed to favor the Democrats,” Jonathan Perloe said. “A lot of people have been giving us the thumbs up, especially in the morning.”
Both Perloe and fellow Democrat Larry Kantor said they had to wait on line at their polling places when they voted in the morning, which they’ve never had to do before.
“It was as crowded if not more crowded than a presidential year,” Kantor said.
UPDATE: 4 PM
The latest numbers from New Fairfield’s registrar of voters office show that 3,211 people have votes at Meeting House Hill School and 593 have voted at the Company A Firehouse, the town’s two polling locations.
“Those are very high numbers for New Fairfield at both polls,” Democratic Registrar Elaine Jordano said.
There was no information immediately available about the turnout percentage these numbers represent.
The Meeting House Hill polling spot is for voters in the 108th District and the Firehouse for those in the 138th District.
Ridgefield’s registrar of voters office did not have turnout numbers immediately available around 3:45 p.m.
UPDATE: 3:55 PM
In Danbury, officials reported a steady stream of voters hitting the polls throughout the day.
As of 3 p.m., about 38 percent of the city’s registered voters had cast ballots. That’s down from 46 percent during the 2016 presidential race while it’s up significantly from the 27 percent during the last midterm election in 2014.
UPDATE 3:45 PM
More than 10,000 people have voted in Newtown so far, according to the registrar’s office. Turnout is at 57 percent.
UPDATE: 3:40 PM
Nearly half of all eligible Norwalk voters in the 142-A district had cast a vote at the Fox Run Elementary with less than five hours to go until polls close, according to moderator Ellen Wink.
Wink, a 16-year moderating veteran, said the polling location saw nearly 200 people an hour during peak hours this morning with an unusually large amount of one demographic, in particular.
“I have to say I’ve been seeing a lot more younger faces than usual, which is good,” Wink said.
As of 3 p.m. 2,163 of the 5,100 eligible voters had voted, she said.
One voter, 85-year-old Regina Krummel of West Norwalk, said it was the “horrible, xenophobic” speech of President Donald Trump that brought her out to polls this year.
“I’m not voting for a single Republican this year,” Krummel said. “They haven’t disavowed him (Trump), so no I will not vote for any Republican. I won’t vote for anyone that is part of a political movement that he’s a part of.”
UPDATE: 3:30 PM
More than 40 percent of Derby voters have cast ballots as of 3 p.m., City Clerk Marc Garofalo reported.
Just under 2,600 ballots as of that time of the total 6,472 voters in the city.
UPDATE: 3:20 PM
Voter turnout in Norwalk crept over 35 percent at 2 p.m.
Just over 18,500 voters have cast ballots so far, of the almost 53,000 registered voters in the city, according to Registrar of Voters Stuart Wells.
UPDATE: 3:15 PM
New Canaan voter turnout has surpassed 50 percent of the town’s 14,000 eligible voters as of 3 p.m.
The constant flow of voters to polls has slowed down since 11 a.m. and there’s an average of 689 residents casting their ballots per hour.
“It’s been a busy day,” Registrar of Voters John Amarilios said. “It’s going to be an interesting night.”
Humberto J. Rocha
UPDATE: 3:10 PM
More than 37 percent of Derby voters have cast ballots as of 2 p.m., City Clerk Marc Garofalo reported.
The city had tallied exactly 2,400 ballots as of that time of the total 6,472 voters in the city.
UPDATE: 3 PM
If you’re a Fairfield resident who votes either in District 4 at Stratfield School or District 9 at Sherman School and hoped to have an “I voted” sticker to share on social media, you’re out of luck. Voters in both districts report that there are no more stickers.
According to the Registrar of Voters, as of 2 p.m., 1,683 of Stratfield’s 3,974 registered voters had cast ballots. Across town at Sherman, 1,737 out of 4,126 had voted by 2 p.m.
Overall, voter turnout was at 17,850. There are 38,188 voters.
The highest turnout so far has been at the town’s solidly Republican districts — District 1, Dwight School, and District 10, Mill Hill. At Dwight, 2,228 ballots had been cast, while 2,138 residents had voted at Mill Hill.
“The turnout is incredible and the passion on both sides is intense,” Republican Town Committee Chairman James Millington said. “This is going to come down to what people are more focused on: Turning around Connecticut or sending a message to Washington.”
UPDATE: 2:30 PM
Voters were still trickling in at Darien Town Hall around 2 p.m. and a poll moderator said they are expecting another rush later in the day.
Selectman Marc Thorne said lines will most likely pick up around 6 p.m. when people are being let off work. Thorne said the turnout this year has been big in comparison to previous non presidential elections.
Turnout was at 32 percent as of noon, according to the registrar of voters. For comparison, in the 2016 election voter turnout was around 36.5 percent by 11 a.m. in the 2014 midterm election turnout was around 15.4 percent by 10 a.m.
UPDATE: 2:15 PM
Nearly 300,000 Connecticut voters had cast ballots in 128 cities and towns as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, according to preliminary numbers released by the Secretary of the State’s office Tuesday afternoon.
Of 128 towns reporting their turnout numbers, the average turnout was 21.36 percent after the polls had been open for just four hours. In contrast, in 2014 only 56 percent of registered voters had cast ballots by the close of Election Day. Likewise, in 2010, turnout was 57 percent of registered voters.
These preliminary numbers seem to indicate overall voter turnout will be higher than usual Tuesday. But intense rain Tuesday afternoon could dissuade some voters from heading to the polls.
Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven, key cities for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ned Lamont, did not report their turnout as of 10 a.m. to the Secretary of the State’s Office.
Stamford reported 10,955 voters before 10 a.m., or a turnout of 15.6 percent. Danbury had 7,053 voters by 10 a.m. and 62 people registered to vote at the polls. In Norwalk, 10,381 people voted, or 19.6 percent of registered voters.
In Fairfield, 10,806 voters cast ballots by 10 a.m. — a whopping 28.3 percent of that town’s registered voters. Westport had 5,672 voters, or 30.45 percent, before 10 a.m. Darien saw 3,116 voters — 22.8 percent of registered voters in that town.
In North Haven, 4,250 voters cast ballots, or 24.87 percent. West Haven had 4,029 voters, or 14.71 percent turnout.
Greenwich, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Stratford and Trumbull were among the towns that did not share preliminary turnout numbers.
As the rain slows down, people are still trickling into polling locations around New Canaan.
Voter turnout could surpass 2014 gubernatorial election numbers before polls close. In 2014, New Canaan saw a 55.78 percent turnout and 525 absentee ballots issued.
As of 1:30 p.m., voter turnout is at 43.5 percent with 772 absentee ballots already counted.
Registrars of voters at Town Hall have seen a steady flow of people signing up for same-day voter registration.
Shelby Haydo, a second-time voter, said she was excited to vote.
“My mother is a big proponent of voting,” Haydo said. “It’s hard to find a job in the state and that’s why I want to vote.”
Humberto J. Rocha
UPDATE: 1:28 PM
Bob Stefanowski arrived at his polling place in Madison Tuesday afternoon, where he voted in a statewide election for the first time since at least the year 2000.
He was greeted by Jennie Dominick, 99, of Madison.
Stefanowski waited in a long line at the Madison Senior Center and voted around 12:45 p.m.
UPDATE: 1:20 PM
Stamford Republican Registrar of Voters Lucy Corelli said up until noon in 22 districts across the city, 19,400 voters have cast their votes.
UPDATE: 1:15 PM
Two polling places in Milford were approaching record-setting mid-term turnouts just six hours into the election.
“Maybe its the candidates, maybe its just people wanting to beat the rain,” said Rick Carey, head moderator for the 119th and 118-5 state representative districts voting at Harborside Middle School.
At around 11;30 a.m. Carey said 725 of the registered 1,591 voters in the 118-5 and 2,200 of the 65,300 voters in the 119th had turned out.
“This is big,” he said.
Outside U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro was greeting voters while campaigning for Ellen Beatty, the Democratic candidate for the 119th district and James Maroney, the Democratic state senate candidate for the 14th district.
“Everywhere I have been today—Prospect, Naugatuck, Ansonia, Stratford—the turnout has been heavy,” said DeLauro standing in a steady rain outside Harborside. “There have been long lines and I am told large numbers of absentee ballots. My stepson said he waited an hour in line in Brooklyn, N.Y. to vote.”
A mile or so away at Orange Avenue, voters were backed up onto the street waiting patiently to park their cars in one of Milford’ s biggest Republican districts.
Inside Carl Moore, the chief moderator said 1,308 of the roughly 4,500 registered had cast their ballots by 11 a.m.
“It’s been a steady flow,” he said.
Outside Walter Hagendorn and Will Luxeder, a seventh grade student at Harborside stood holding signs for the Republican candidates on the slate.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in a mid-term election,” Hagendorn said. “There are a lot of young people involved and voting which is awesome.”
Luxeder said he got the bug to involved when his grandfather, Alfred Bucknall, took him to the gubernatorial debate at Fairfield University. He then began working at Republican State Senate Candidate Pam Staneski’s and State Representative Candidate Kathy Kennedy’s headquarters on the Boston Post Road.
“We’ve had 30-to-40 young people working there every weekend, Hagendorn said.
Around 11:15 a.m. a familiar figure, Gayle Slossberg, the longtime state senator from the 14th district showed up to vote. Slossberg chose to retire leaving the seat open for Staneski and Maroney to vie for.
“This is a significant turnout,” she said stopping to talk to Susan Bloomberg, a Democratic campaign worker. “I’ve never seen it as busy as this and I’ve been standing out here every year for the past 20 years. It’s a good day for the Democracy.”
Slossberg said she made her decision early this year to step down.
“But I told both Pam (Staneski) and Jim (Maroney) get this right or I will come back.”
Michael P. Mayko
UPDATE: 12:53 PM
Secretary of State Denise Merrill on Tuesday said turnout in early voting across the state was strong, averaging about 20 percent, and there had been no significant problems reported.
“Business is good,” Merrill told reporters just after noon at a Hartford polling place. “I would not say it’s booming, but it’s good. We are getting reports of some lines. It’s about 20 percent turnout by midday.”
Merrill said mid-term elections in Connecticut generally turnout between 55 and 65 percent of eligible voters. She said the voter ranks swelled this cycle to about 2.16 million voters, fueled in part by growth in new voters between 18 and 24 years old.
The morning rain across most of the state probably dampened some voting, Merrill said, adding forecasts are calling for the weather to improve as the day progresses.
“I think turnout will be quite high for a mid-term election,” Merrill said. “So far there are no major issues. We did a lot of preparation this time. It’s going very smoothly.”
Merrill added challengers — watchers who can challenge a voter’s credentials —requested by Republican campaigns so far have not challenged anyone’s right to vote.
“I don’t think we will have a problem with the challengers,” Merrill said.
In general, Merrill, a Democrat seeking her own reelection, called this year’s cycle a “values election” fueled by the negative tone of the various campaigns.
UPDATE: 12:45 PM
As a reader called in to point out to me, emergency absentee ballots can still be requested.
“In case of an unforeseen illness or physical disability which occurred within six days preceding election day, or hospitalization within six days before election day, a voter may make an emergency application for an absentee ballot. In this case the voter can designate a family member or care giver or, if available, a police officer or assistant registrar to deliver the ballot to him.”
UPDATE: 12:09 PM
As of 11 a.m. 27.4 percent of 13,662 eligible voters in Darien have casted their vote.
Town Clerk Donna Rajczewski said she has received 1,000 absentee ballots to date. She also said the turnout at town hall has been comparable to a presidential election.
“It’s been a lot,” Rajczewski said of the amount of absentee ballots.
Polling moderators at town hall said they lines started forming before 6 am. Same day registration in the town hall auditorium has also seen similar numbers.
John Visi, republican registrar of voters, said the turnout has been incredible so far.
UPDATE: 12:03 PM
Democratic challenger for the 26th Senate District called in en route to vote at Saxe Middle School in New Canaan. “Turnout seems to be through the roof. I’ve been standing in Ridgefield and Wilton all morning and people kept coming up to me, even some Republicans, saying their kid convinced them to vote for me or they’re voting for a Democrat for the first time. I think that’s a good sign,” Haskell said.
UPDATE: 11:57 AM
Poll workers brought a ballot out to a woman’s car outside the first Presbyterian Church in Stamford Tuesday morning because she is disabled and was not able to come inside.
“The lady was having difficulties coming out of her car and didn’t look like she could walk much, so I said get back in the car and we’ll get them out because they can do curbside voting. She voted in the car. It’s the first time I’ve seen it in my life,” David Michel, a Democratic state rep. candidate who was standing outside First Presbyterian, said.
Earlier in the morning Michel said he visited three polling locations in Stamford: First Presbyterian, St. Bridget of Ireland, and Our Lady Star of the Sea. At First Presbyterian there were about 30 people waiting in line to vote at 6am, Michel said.
“People were eagerly waiting to vote at 6 a.m. At 6 a.m. it’s usually slower. There’s definitely something going on,” he added.
UPDATE: 11:43 AM
“It’s just been nonstop,” said Gary Potmesil, the moderator at Sherman School in Fairfield. “For a midterm election, it’s certainly bringing out a lot people.”
By 11 a.m., 1,238 people had cast a ballot.
Just before lunch, Potmesil said was probably the slowest it had been since the polls opened, and said it was likely because of a hard rain that was now falling.
“There have been long lines for a booth, long lines for street check in,” he said. “It’s democracy at work.”
UPDATE: 11:29 AM
Deborah Brutsche, who was holding signs supporting Republican candidates outside Mary. L. Tracy School in Orange, where voting was brisk Tuesday morning said that, during the time she was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, two different drivers, a woman and a man, gave her the “finger.”
“It did not feel right,” Brutsche said.
She said that while she does not agree with everything President Donald Trump says, she supports his policies. A descendant of many veterans who fought in wars, Brutsche said she would never do anything to hurt the country she loves so much.
“It makes me more determined than ever,” Brutsche said of the vulgar gesture made in her direction.
“Let’s just make it better,” she said about her love of the nation.
UPDATE: 11:27 AM
Stamford Republican Registrar of Voters Lucy Corelli said as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, 14,331 votes had been cast across the city’s 22 districts. There are almost 70,000 registered voters in the city.
Corelli said there were many fewer voters coming to this election than the one held for president two years ago.
“This is nothing compared to the presidential,” She said. “Still, it is a heavy turnout in Stamford.”
UPDATE: 11:24 AM
Under rainy skies, turnout was light mid-morning at the polling station at Bridgeport City Hall with several people waiting in line. Gregoire Dardompre estimated that she was in and out the door within five minutes.
“Not at all,” said Dardompre, when asked if she had any problems casting a ballot. “I work for the city of New York so I had the day off. It was great and they (the poll workers) are very friendly and helpful.”
Dardompre, who was born in Haiti and speaks French alongside English, declined to share how she voted but expressed hope that Americans would find common ground after the divisive elections.
“I hope we’re going to get together,” Dardompre said. “That’s the more important thing because we love our country — even if English is my second language, of course. But I love it (the United States) so far. That’s what we need for the future, for the youth, so I encourage everyone to vote because this is very important for us.”
UPDATE: 11:16 AM
A misty morning and pouring rain around 11 a.m. hasn’t stopped New Canaan voters from coming out to the polls.
And numbers are high.
As of 11 a.m., 33 percent of the town’s 14,071 eligible voters have gone out to the polls. To put that in reference, at the same time during the 2016 presidential elections, 43 percent of voters had cast their ballots.
“There’s been tremendous turnout,” Liz Orteig, a moderator at the Saxe Middle School polling location said. “It’s exciting to see people come out and vote and we’re expecting a high number.”
With over 1,300 absentee ballots issued — a mere 300 away from those of the presidential elections — town officials were prepared to see an outpour of voters.
Humberto J. Rocha
UPDATE: 10:58 AM
As of 10 a.m, about 19 percent of Norwalk’s 52,956 registered voters had cast their ballots.
UPDATE: 9:55 AM
Daniel Fox has been standing outside Stamford High School since just before 6 a.m. Tuesday, but he was still energetic.
The four-term state representative from Stamford said there had been a steady stream of voters in and out since he arrived.
This election he said was a referendum on decency and civility.
“The voters want us to work hard and respond to them and that is what we try to do for them. Stamford is a great city and the people are engaged a lot more so than people elsewhere,” he said.
When asked what his chances were to be elected again today, Fox said he was hopeful.
“We always run scared. We have worked hard so we are hoping the votes will fall our way. We will see.”
UPDATE: 9:44 AM
The line was short at Sarah Noble Intermediate School as the morning commute came to an end.
“There was a line out the door at 6 a.m., and it was pretty busy until 8 a.m. Those are the commuters,” Poll Moderator Charles Kelly said.
Kelly said that by his estimation, the poll was as busy as in the last midterm election.
Because of the four questions on the ballot for voters in New Milford, Kelly said that no one had expressed confusion to him.
“I thought for sure we’d have questions, but we haven’t,” Kelly said. “It’s all online.”
UPDATE: 9:35 AM
By 9 a.m. the morning voting rush was over at St. Bridget’s on Strawberry Hill Avenue in Stamford.
But moderator Steve Maltz said more voters turned out than expected.
“It’s very brisk for a midterm election. There are a lot of voters,” Maltz said. “This is a lot of people voting today.”
Having just cast her vote, branding manager Alicia Holt said she wanted to send a message.
“To stop the dissention and breaking up people. At the end of the day, we are one country, one county, one people, said Holt, 35. “It seems like the dissention is crazy, being along party lines. I think for the most part people are in the middle.”
UPDATE: 9:31 AM
Danbury officials report that voting has been brisk at most polling locations in the city. As of 9 a.m., 12.5 percent of registered voters had already cast their ballots. During the last midterm election in 2014, 9 percent of registered voters had cast ballots as of 9 a.m.
MaryAnn Doran, the Republican Registrar of Voters, said open seats for both the 5th district congressional race and an open gubernatorial seat is likely driving up the numbers from four years ago. She added that several voters said they had planned to come out early and beat the rain forecast for this afternoon.
The registrars office has also been inundated this morning with people confused about their polling location. Most are older voters who haven’t voted in some time or have moved since the last election, Doran said, indicating that more voters are interested in today’s election than previous races.
UPDATE: 9:20 AM
Ned Lamont will join his family to cast ballots in the 2018 general election at their polling location in Greenwich, visit polling locations throughout the state and encourage residents to vote, and visit Democratic headquarters to rally supporters and volunteers.
Lamont, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Susan Bysiewicz, Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, will join statewide candidates, supporters and volunteers for a reception at Yard Goats Dunkin’ Donuts Park.
UPDATE: 9:11 AM
Tweet from Mayor Mark Boughton
“As of 8 am 8.3% of Danbury voters have voted. 2014 was 5.7% in 2010 6.8%”
UPDATE: 8:49 AM
It’s drizzling out but Jim Fleischer isn’t letting the weather get him down as he greets voters outside Dolan Middle School in Stamford.
Fleischer, campaign treasurer for Board if Education candidate Jackie Pioli, said he’s there to support those getting out to vote.
“It’s been a very strong turnout,” said Fleischer, who has been greeting voters for years. “There has been a much steadier stream of voters this morning than in years past, even two years ago.”
The District 14 moderator at Dolan agrees. Moderator Ryan Teeples said the turnout has been big. “Surprisingly big. I don’t know why. People are very emotional about this election and they want to come out and vote,” he said.
For Cathy Mack, this election is about morality.
“There is so much hatred against so many people who are not white. I want to go back to a time when we were more compassionate, understanding and flexible. Now, it seems like there is this dark line and you are on one side or the other,” Mack said. “Everyone has something to offer and I don’t think this administration is allowing it.”
UPDATE: 8:39 AM
Poll monitors from Ellsworth Avenue firehouse in New Haven report largest turnout since Obama wave in 2008.
UPDATE: 7:24 AM
One thing that often surprises voters are ballot questions.
There are two on today’s ballot.
One asks whether to create a so-called lockbox to keep money designated for transportation projects from being spent elsewhere. Another asks whether to place limits on the General Assembly when it attempts to transfer or sell state-owned property to a non-state entity.
To read more about the questions, click here
To read the wording on the questions, click here
UPDATE: 6:36 AM
People were lining up to vote in Stamford’s District 5 polling location before polls even officially opened at 6 a.m.
While it was still dark in the sky outside of Stamford High School, dozens of Stamford voters were waiting for the chance to cast their ballot. And in what could well prove to be a high-turnout mid-term election, poll workers said it was above the typical amount they saw that early in the morning.
A poll worker at the high school said that while there is typically always a line waiting for things to open up because people want to vote before they go to work, Tuesday’s line was larger than normal.
Once inside, things moved briskly with poll workers reminding voters to fill out both sides of the ballot with one side containing the ballot initiatives and offices like governor and senator and the other with state attorney general, treasurer and others. And, as voters made sure to request them, the coveted “I voted” stickers were starting to be handed out as the first hour of voting progressed
Polls will be open throughout the state until 8 p.m.
UPDATE: 6 AM
Polls are now open across Connecticut.
The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Registered voters who are in line at 8 p.m. will be able to vote and should stay in line. Voters can find their polling places at myvote.ct.gov/lookup.
While the weather is not ideal, statewide turnput is expected to be higher than average.
The National Weather Service says fog and drizzle will start the day and will give way to increasing rain showersthrough the day. There could be a few thunderstorms as well. Heavy rain at times as well as gusty winds will be a possibility with some thunderstorms.
The best chance of rain is between 1 and 6 p.m., according to the NWS’s hourly forecast.
Connecticut voter registration is at its highest in more than 30 years heading into Election Day, data from the Secretary of the State’s office shows. A total of 2,165,229 voters are registered to vote.
Connecticut’s close governor’s race could also motivate voters to head to the polls. A poll by Hearst Connecticut Media and Sacred Heart University released Thursday found Bob Stefanowski leading Ned Lamont for the first time. But his small edge — just 2.4 percentage points — is within the margin of error, and all the other public polls have shown Lamont with a slight lead.
The Office of the Secretary of the State and the State Election Enforcement Commission jointly run an Election Day hotline. If voters encounter any problems at the polling place they should contact the hotline at (866) 733-2463 (866-SEEC-INFO) or email@example.com.
For a list of all the candidates and all other important Election Day, visit the Secretary of State’s election page here
A national survey by Pew Research Center in September found that voter enthusiasm is at its highest level during any midterm in more than two decades. A separate poll by Gallup in September reached the same conclusion, finding 55 percent of voters are “more enthusiastic” than usual.