Chaos At East Rock Polls
by Allan Appel | Nov 2, 2010 11:54 am
Posted to: East Rock, Campaign 2010
A dozen or more voters went home without casting their ballots as crowds overwhelmed poll workers at Wilbur Cross High School Tuesday.
An unanticipated turnout found lines of voters snaking through the front lobby of the school and out the door by 9 a.m.
“In my 30 years, I have never seen such a turnout,” said Democratic Registrar of Voters Sharon Ferrucci, who arrived the scene mid-morning with her Republican counterpart, Rae Tramontano. They straightened out the mess, for now, around 11 a.m.
In the meantime, former East Rock Alderman and state representative candidate Roland Lemar (pictured) said, he saw at least 15 to 20 people go home without voting. He said he and his campaign coworkers plan to try to track down those voters to see if they can return later in the day.
“This is not acceptable,” Lemar declared at the scene. He said officials knew turnout would be high and should have planned for it.
Chuck Swirsky of Rosa DeLauro’s Congressional campaign (pictured outside Democrats’ Whalley Avenue headquarters mid-morning) arrived on the scene shortly after 9 after hearing about the problem from Lemar and East Rock Alderman Justin Elicker. Swirsky contacted the state Democratic Party’s voter protection team, which filed a formal complaint, he said.
Democratic campaigners have worked hard to pull the vote in New Haven this year. And East Rock is one of the city’s heaviest voting districts.
Two other factors added to the chaos: Officials had to combine the Ward 9 and Ward 10 polling places at Cross this year, because Ward 9’s usual polling site, East Rock Global Magnet School, is closed for renovations. And a special election for an open aldermanic seat in Ward 9 has drawn intense campaigning from groups throughout the city.
But it was the Ward 10 lines that poll workers had trouble keeping up with Tuesday morning. Part of the problem: That was the first line voters saw coming in the door. Some Ward 9 voters didn’t know there was a separate spot down the corridor for their district. So they waited on the wrong line.
By 11 the voting registrars had set up a second table for Ward 10 voters. One table served voters from streets starting with A through L, the other M-Z. But that produced a lopsided result. (Turns out Lawrence Street has a lot of voters.) So the breakdown was changed to A through K and L through Z.
By shortly after noon, 590 people had voted in Ward 9, 505 in Ward 10.
Meanwhile, voting was also heavy at Edgewood School in Westville’s Ward 25, another traditionally high-turnout district. Poll workers said 500 people had voted by 10 a.m., on a pace with a presidential year.
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I waited 45 minutes to vote at Wilbur Cross this morning. Saw lots of people walk in, check out the line, and walk back out. Hopefully they will be back.
Just wait in line, people. Your vote counts this time!
How timely….we have a government that even when it is given the information that there will be an increase in voters, fails to take any action to allow for an efficient voting process.
I hope that others who waited as long as I did in that line thought for a bit - Do we really want to give give more control, money, and power to a system that shows no ability to use those resources for the betterment of the people?
If only we could vote Obama out today….
Right, smaller gov’t, I’m sure it’s totally Obama’s fault that the voting place lines in New Haven were long.
Yes smaller gov’t, we should instead enlist private corporations who will probably charge us for casting a ballot. Who wants a system that is for public benefit when we can instead give our money to the few at the top?
Seriously though. It’s a problem of competence. The theory is right, the execution needs to be improved. Government can and should be a force for good.
The obvious answer to the problem with the confusion of voting at the school is to blame it on Bush. Obama does it all the time. I wonder how Obama will spin the Democrat’s losing the majority control in Congress. Blame it on Bush?
It really is a shame they weren’t better and hopefully this is really just an isolated incident.
Another possible problem - I’m not sure if this is specific to New Haven or to Connecticut in general as I’ve voted via absentee ballot for the past two years, but at the Ward 9 table this morning there were four people with sheets to check off voters. Only one of these people was checking IDs, and would first check the ID, then shout out the voter’s address and name to the other people, who would all mark them off on the same list. Previous experiences voting in New York were much more streamlined - is this the normal voting process in CT, or was I right to be slightly concerned about the haphazard nature of the Ward 9 check-in process?
This morning, I showed up to vote, went to walk in, was told that I was in Ward 10 (even though I argued a bit and insisted I was in Ward 9) by two separate people; waited in the Ward 10 line for 45 minutes, got to the table where the workers checked my ID and puzzled over their sheets for 5 minutes. After this they said - “I don’t know if you are registered”(I know that I am because I’ve voted three other times), called someone over and then I was told - “Oh you are in Ward 9.” So I went over to Ward 9, which had no line, and voted.
Had I been sheeplike, and just gone to the Ward 10 line without checking, I would not be complaining here - but that fact that two people (one of whom frequents these boards) wasted my time by sending me to that line kind of angers me.
Okay, “Smaller Gov’t”:
Get ready for longer lines, longer turn around time and reduced services. Perhaps trash pick up should be every other week and we’ll have to learn to recycle and compost. Maybe the State should plow either northbound lanes OR southbound lanes every other snowfall.
Stop expecting “snap your fingers” service if you’re not willing to pay for it. And kudos to Leslie for pointing out the fact that President Obama has nothing whatever to do with staffing New Haven voting precincts. GEEZ, I wish you people who disagree with the President’s policies would use rational arguments instead of the usual drivel. I can respect a rational disagreement. It’s the “everything is Obama’s fault” nonsense that irks me to no end.
Instead of confused volunteers working the polls, and as part of the next round of stimulus funding, we ought to hire full-time year-round state employees to man the polls.
This would add to the employment roles and allow these new state workers an opportunity to retire after 5 election cycles with full family health coverage and a generous defined benefit pension for life. And of course these dedicated civil servants need and DESERVE a livable wage if they work in New Haven. And with all the stress on election days, they of course should expect that their public employee service union would lobby state politicians to compress voting hours to between 9:00am and 2:15pm. Government working for you!
Smaller Gov’t:“If only we could vote Obama out today…” Maybe YOU have forgotten which party and president drove this nation into the proverbial ditch… Thinking Americans remember all too clearly. It would be silly and unwise to give the keys back to Republicans. All they have done since their 8 disastrous years, is obstruct and say “NO!”
They are not part of any solution- THEY are the problem.
I think this is a perfect case study of why we should have voting over the course of a 2 weeks as the do in Oregon & FL. We will have much higher voter turnouts.
For the sake of this great country, I hope that not many voters have bought into the presidential drivel about ‘they drove us into the ditch’
Thinking people realize that our financial crisis was a direct results of congressional policies put into place once the Dems gained control in ‘06. Bush’s biggest sin was caving in to the statists during his final year.
Out of Town….I think you are on to something. If we took the $$ paid to those running the polls at W Cross and gave it to - let’s say Romeo’s - there is no doubt that the business/customer service people woule create a nice, efficient voting process and probably have enough money left over to hand out free cannolis… Great idea.
A Rational American….by using the argument about trash being picked up biweekly, are you saying that no one else could be as efficient as the gov’t? Have you ever watched the city trash and recycling folks stand around for the first and last hours of their day? I for one would rather see tax dollar go to real services for folks that need them rather than be wasted via union supported corruption
This is what happens when you vote for the crooked two party system.
I think we should have a more rational system of voting like showing up with the biggest single rock we can carry and piling it up for our chosen candidate. The candidate with the largest pile of rocks gets elected….and then, like the Inca’s… we topple the rock piles onto the loser…
Perhaps voting at W. Cross was a mess this morning, but when I went by at about 3.30 this afternoon, everything seemed calm and organized and I voted with no problem.
Whatever glitch was present in the a.m., it got worked out just fine, from what I saw…
Glad to hear the mess got fixed. Apparently Obama sent some stimulus money and made everything OK.
“Blame it on Bush?”
I’d be happy to blame two unnecessary wars, causing millions of casualties and the consequent exploding deficits as well as unregulated markets leading to the financial meltdown and the Great Recession on Bush, simply because that’s who is to blame.
Obama is a arguably greater president than FDR. Roosevelt had a prostrate country ready to follow him anywhere. Everything Obama has accomplished required him to drag Congress kicking and screaming across the finish line.
His misfortune was that he came to office after Bush’s damage had been done but too soon not to allow the lying Republicans/Foxnews to blame it on someone who was tasked with cleaning up someone else’s mess.
History will be kind to Obama and not so much to Bush.
Calabash -...I haven’t seen Obama and great int eh same sentence since the regime took control in Jan ‘09
I suspect that was me who told you that, and if so, I apologize. The lists we had showed streets in Fair Haven—streets all over the city actually—and were a real mess. They were given to us by the Registrar of Voters.
Again, I apologize, and am sorry for any Ward 10 resident who had a hard time voting. As it was, we had an excellent turn-out, with even more voters than Ward 9 (a contested local race!) so I think we did very well.
Thank you to all of my neighbors in Ward 10 who came out and voted today.
To Truth on Nov 2nd:
Your revisionism of the historical facts surrounding the financial crisis that came to fruition toward the end of Bush’s 2 terms, is simply boilerplate buck-passing built on a foundation of GOP talking points and lies. Bush’s economy was a house of cards waiting to collapse, no better than the ponzi-schemed antics of Bernie Madoff. Bush-era derivatives and other toxic financial instruments, coupled with mortgage lender’s greed and willingness to make bad loans was fortified by the GOP mantra of “free markets” -all made possible by Republican-sponsored legislation (see Gop’s Phil Graham who led the charge)that killed the Glass-Steagle Act, there by destroying the firewall between Banks and brokerages and their respective mandates. It is typical to try and blame the Dem Congress for the 6 previous years of festering bad GOP fiscal policy, typified by the doubling of the deficit under GOP watch, deregulation, Tax cuts for the wealthy on borrowed money, unnecessary war and a host of irresponsible Republican-driven disasters along the way. Truth, save the talking points for the naive- your hollow analysis doesn’t pass the smell test.
No harm done Streever. I stuck with it and voted! I just hope those who had less patience (and time on their hands) did likewise, or came back later on, when it seems like the kinks got ironed out.
With the turnout numbers as they were, I suspect they did! I made a concerted effort to reach out to the people I saw leaving, and saw many of them return. If Malloy loses by 6 votes though, you know which house to egg ;-)
Looking up the definition of Avenger (or avenge), one finds;
“to inflict pain or harm in return for pain r harm inflicted on oneself or those persons or causes to which one feels loyalty.”
So I suppose that your name makes some sense but I cannot understand why you fell that TRUTH has done you harm and exactly what benefit you expect from harming TRUTH….
To: What’s in a Name-
I am here to address issues- not engage in pettiness as exemplified by your post. This discussion
is political- not personal. “Truth” fired the first salvo by trying to finger Democrats (Obama) for the fiscal woes of the nation…I merely presented the facts and characterized the analysis as flawed and hollow. Nothing personal like your attempted ad hominem attack on my “name” Rather than trying to defend that which does not need defending, it would be useful if you addressed content-not motives, because like “truth” you are way off the mark.
I showed up at Wilbur Cross at 9:30 and the line had formed a circle. I couldn’t tell where it started or stopped. I left and came back at around 3, and I didn’t have to wait at all. I’m just glad I had the time to come back.
We were there around 6:30pm and it was chaotic. The line for Ward 9 was 20 people or so long. The volunteers for our table for our streets (L - Z) weren’t even there. Why would all 4 people go on break at the same time? When we asked where we should go we were told, quite rudely and repeatedly to get in line, when there wasn’t one for Ward 10! We were the only ones there! Also agree with Foster St that they need to streamline the process. 3 people haphazardly looking for my name and address was ridiculous. They should post signs before next election if they want, ahem.. younger volunteers.
When will ineptitude to punished by being put out to pasture. We have two Registrars who are completely and hopelessly incompetent. But, hey, as long as the “right” people get elected.
Did the voting rights act of 1965 apply to this situation. How many people were turned away? I read the article and was surprised. This was not mentioned on the news.
The tactic’s of 1800 are alive and well. What happened to the promise of democracy? Oh, I forgot that it was a promise made to the few and not the many.
no one was actually turned away: several people did leave and came back later, because the lines were very long.
We had only 5 booths to vote at, so even when the checkers were operating quickly, the voters were held up by the other voters. The moderator doubled the number of booths and the line started to get smaller.