Polls opened at 6 a.m. in Connecticut Tuesday morning for voters to choose candidates in a variety of statewide, regional and local primaries, including which Republican candidate – Greenwich business executive Tom Foley or state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney – will face Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in the November election.
Polls will be open Tuesday until 8 p.m.
Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said Monday she expects a low turnout and that primaries traditionally have a turnout of "usually around 25 to 30 percent at the top."
"Sadly, I think it might be lower than that,'' Merrill told reporters Monday in the Capitol press room. "Despite all this gloomy talk about turnout, I am hoping that people are paying attention.''
In West Hartford, which traditionally has a high voter turnout, only six people had cast ballots at the voting precinct at West Hartford town hall by 7 a.m.
"I believe in the democratic process and this is an important part of it," said voter Amy DiPolino.
Turnout was light at the Elmwood Community Center in West Hartford as well, although Blynn Packard made sure he got there to cast his ballot. If people don't vote, he said, they have no right to complain about the politicians.
"I always come out to vote no matter what," Packard said. "You gotta vote. It's your right."
The state has about 400,000 registered Republicans, and some Republican insiders believe that fewer than 100,000 will vote Tuesday.
Merrill's office also announced Monday that it was opening an election hotline to respond to any problems at the polls.
To report an issue or concern, voters are asked to call 1-866-SEEC-INFO (1-866-733-2463) or to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Concerns about problems may be reported anonymously, but the town and specific polling place should be identified, and callers are asked to provide as many details as possible.
Polls are open for registered Republicans to vote in statewide primaries and a number of local and regional primaries, and for registered Democrats to vote in a number of regional and local primaries.
On Monday, with fewer than 24 hours to go before the polls opened, Foley and McKinney sought to fire up supporters and sharpen their ground game in a final, last-minute blitz for votes.
McKinney campaigned in Fairfield in the morning, then took Metro-North to Grand Central Terminal in New York to target afternoon commuters returning home to Connecticut.
Foley briefly joined a crowd of supporters waving signs along Park Road in West Hartford on Monday afternoon, hoping to catch commuters exiting I-84 during the afternoon rush. He then headed to Farmington and Southington.