Voters trickled into polling places throughout the state Tuesday to choose candidates in a variety of statewide, regional and local primaries, including which Republican – Greenwich businessman Tom Foley or state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney – will face Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in November.
Polls closed at 8 p.m. and candidates awaited results as they were being tabulated by poll workers across the state.For the latest election results, visit courant.com/elections.
Earlier Tuesday, Foley greeted voters in Southington, shaking hands and making small talk. He asked one family with young children in tow if the youngsters were old enough to vote. "We voted at 6:45 this morning, with my three-year-old twins," Foley said.
McKinney took his son Matthew with him when he voted Tuesday morning in Fairfield. John McKinney was the 57th person to cast a ballot at the Fairfield Senior Center; Matthew McKinney was number 58.
Across the state, registrars were reporting mostly low turnouts. Polls opened at 6 a.m. and closed at 8 p.m.
In heavily Republican Greenwich, Foley's hometown, 1,627 people – or about 13.4 percent of the town's eligible voters – had voted as of 5:40 p.m.
As of 3 p.m., Glastonbury registrars were reporting a little over a 10 percent turnout. "It has been steady as it goes," said Republican Deputy Registrar Lisbeth Becker, who added the largest district turnout was at Hopewell Elementary School, with 12.6 percent. "We aren't giving up yet, but turnout has been pretty low," she said.
Registrars in Farmington and Simsbury both reported a low turnout as off 1:30 p.m. According to the Farmington registrar of voters' office, the turnout was slightly under 10 percent. Simsbury had 370 people cast votes, according to the Simsbury registrar of voters' office.
Typical pace for a primary
At the Hartford Seminary precinct in the city's West End, poll moderator Janielee Reyes said 145 people had cast ballots by 11:30 a.m. -- about the typical pace for a primary, she said.
"It'll get busy later," Reyes said.
The Secretary of the State's office reported a few small glitches. In Hartford, workers at a West End polling place was asking voters for a photo ID, contrary to Connecticut law. Also in Hartford, about 30 ballots at one unnamed polling place did not contain the correct information about a legislative primary; they were immediately replaced with the correct ballots.
In Glastonbury, woman was mistakenly deleted from the voter rolls because a town resident who shares her name had died and registrars removed wrong person from the voter rolls. The woman was restored as a voter but left before casting a ballot.
The State Elections Enforcement Commission is also investigating a report in Bridgeport that voters who recently switched from unaffiliated to Republican and Democratic were not on the voting list. The voters could only cast their ballots after obtaining a letter from the registrar of voters office.
But low turnout was the main story.
By late afternoon, Foley observed that far fewer people had voted this year than did in the hotly contested 2010 gubernatorial primary, when he defeated fellow Republican Michael Fedele. "It's much lower turnout but remember there was a senate race last time that was very high profile and the Democrats had a primary that time...so it's many fewer people,'' he said.
At the Annie Fisher School precinct north of Albany Avenue in Hartford, the poll moderator, who did not want to be identified, said 160 votes had been tallied as of 1 p.m., which is "pretty good for a primary."
Walter Harrison, president of the University of Hartford, was among the Democrats who arrived on the overcast morning to vote in the 2nd District state Senate race featuring incumbent Sen. Eric Coleman and Hartford city council President Shawn Wooden.
"Excercise my right as a citizen"
"I know both of them," Harrison said. "I wanted to be here to exercise my right as a citizen ... . I hope that we're teaching our own students the importance of being a citizen in a democracy, and this is at its very most basic of what that means -- to cast your vote."