Rain No Damper on Branford Turnout

Photo by Sally BahnerThe skies were gray under the threat of rain, but that did not deter the enthusiasm of Branford residents heading to the polls. Polls opened at 6 a.m., but at least the time change provided a bit of daylight. Even before the skies opened up around 11:30 a.m. lines were long across the town.

That enthusiasm was reflected before people even left their homes today. Deputy Registrar of Voters reported that the number of registered voters in town has increased to 22,821, as of Oct. 31. That’s an almost 10 percent increase just from Oct. 2, when the number was 20,161 and that increase is the same among both party affiliations, unaffiliated voters, and others.

A total of 7,778 Democrats are now registered, up from 6,908 (an increase of 870); 4,180 Republicans are registered, up from 3,671 (an increase of 509); and 10,598 registered as Unaffiliated , up from 9,351 (an increase of 1,247). Even the number of those registered as “Other” increased, from 231 to 265.

The question to be determined: Will the increased in the number of registered voters be reflected in voter turnout? As of mid-day, the answer appears to be Yes. Voter turnout for mid-term elections is historically low, but this election is on track to break records across the country.

At District 1, Branford High School, about 50 people were waiting in line at 11 a.m. About 1,100 people had already voted.

Dennis May of District 1 said as an unaffiliated voter it was the first time he voted straight Democrat. “To me, it was to demonstrate to the President that he needs a lot of checks and balances.”

District 1 resident John McGuirk, a retired history teacher, said, “We are disgusted with the actions of the President of the United States.” McGuirk said he is pessimistic because the country is being torn apart. “I understand how history goes,” he said.

His wife, Cathy McGuirk, a long-time field hockey coach at Branford High School, said she voted mostly Democrat. “I just don’t like the way things are happening,” she said.

In Stony Creek, District 2, voters headed into St. Therese’s Church to make their choices. Moderator Jeffrey Rowan said 544 had voted by 10 a.m. “We’re doing 100-plus an hour.” He said there are about 1,975 registered voters in the district.

“It’s a very important election,” said Michael Cohen in District 2. “The country has a real choice between Republicans and Democrats and how they want the country to go. I voted Democrat. I feel the country been taken for a ride.”

“I want my voice to be heard,” said a female voter. “I’m a woman who has an opinion and feels that all votes matter.”

One young man said he voted “because our President is so bad.”

Jose Antonio Iricarry, a District 2 resident, said he voted Democrat. “There’s a lot of stuff going on. Lie after lie after lie.”

Photo by Sally BahnerDistrict 3, Orchard House in Short Beach saw steady traffic. According to moderator Chris Collins, 706 votes had been cast by 11 a.m. That’s more than 30 percent of the 2,167 registered voters in the district. “It’s been busy,” she said. “There’s been a line all day.

Photo by Sally BahnerBeverly Willis, 90, an architect and longtime political activist, and Wanda Bubriski, leaving the polls.

Photo by Sally BahnerSteven R. Mullins was handing out information and ducked into his car for an umbrella just as the rain began.

Photo by Sally BahnerDistrict 4, Fire Headquarters, saw close to 1,000 voters by late morning.

Photo by Sally BahnerAnn Lynch, who was reminding people to vote for the questions on the ballot and to have their IDs ready. She said that 25 to 30 people had lined up when polls opened at 6 a.m.

Photo by Sally BahnerModerator Dorothy Stenger said that 958 out of around 2,000 in the district had voted by 10 a.m., about 48 percent.

Photo by Sally BahnerRobin Comey, 102nd District candidate, was feeling optimistic and said the turnout had been heavy.

Leaving the polls, an older woman said she voted for the Republican ticket because she “liked everyone on the ballot.

Photo by Sally BahnerAnd these two voters said, “It will be a great day!”

Photo by Sally BahnerDistrict 5, Indian Neck School saw 962 residents voting by 11 a.m.

Photo by Sally BahnerAccording to moderator Larry Hally, that’s 26.4 percent of the district’s 3,645 registered voters.

Photo by Sally BahnerDebbie Siegal assisted with curbside voting for those who had difficulty making it inside.

Photo by Bill O'BrienDave Peterson, moderator at the Mary Murphy Elementary School polling place in District 6, said 30 people lined up when the doors opened at 6 a.m. He said there are usually only about five people at that time of day. And he said voting continued to be brisk all morning. “I’ve been surprised at how busy it is,” Peterson said. “People are really interested in this election.” About 750 people had voted by 11:30 a.m. and that number increased to 1,200 just past 1 p.m. District 6 has just under 3,000 eligible voters.

District 6 has just under 3,000 eligible voters and they were at 1,200 votes by just past 1 p.m.

Photo by Bill O'BrienThis young couple came out in support of Adam Greenberg, who is running for 12th District state senate.

Photo by Bill O'BrienJohn Prins and Becca Lowery greeted voters at Murphy.

Anna Laska, a District 6 resident said she voted Democrat because, “I’m afraid of what’s happening in this country.” She said she was concerned for her children’s future.

Photo by Bill O'BrienAt District 7, Tisko School, moderator Dan DiBisceglie said, “We were very busy early with voters lined up down the hallway.” He’d been a moderator during elections for seven years and said this was one of the busiest elections he’d ever seen. Tisko had 2,125 eligible voters and approximately 850 had cast their vote by noon.

Photo by Bill O'BrienTom Brockett and Fran Walsh were greeting voters at Tisko.

Between Districts 6 and 7, there was a 40 percent voting turnout.

Photo by Sally BahnerEven the Libertarians were represented.

The rain was coming down in earnest by noon. By evening we’ll know how it affected the overall turnout.

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