Towns reporting heavy voter turnout
Local towns are reporting steady to heavy voter turnout.
In Groton, about one third of the registered voters in the S.B. Butler School and public library polling places cast ballots by 2 p.m. today, a turnout moderators of both sites said is strong for a midterm election.
"This is the first lull we've had," said Richard Kozek, moderator at Butler, at 1:45. About 1,120 votes had been cast thus far, he said.
Scott Smith, moderator at the library, said 700 votes were cast by 2 p.m.
"It's been out the door two or three times," he said.
Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, said the negative campaigning in the governor's race brought attention to the election.
"It does stimulate turnout," he said, standing outside Butler School with state Rep. Elissa Wright, D-Groton, who is running for a fifth term against Republican Aundre Bumgardner.
Parking has been scarce at the Pawcatuck firehouse as 25 percent of registered voters in the district had voted as of 1:30 p.m.
"Turnout is huge. It's almost like a presidential election," said Pawcatuck moderator Lynda Trebisacci. "It's been nonstop."
As the line of voters 25-deep snaked out the door of the polling place at Nathan Hale School, Moderator Rose Butler said the day had been busy since polls opened at 6 a.m.
“This has probably been one of the busiest I’ve seen for a midterm election,” said Butler, who has been an election worker for the past 25 years.
As of 4:30 p.m., more than 1,100 people had cast their ballots at the school, she said. That’s about half of all those registered to vote in the district.
Waterford turnout at 30 percent so far
At least a third of registered voters in town have cast their ballots, according to data from the Registrars of Voters.
Republican Registrar Patty Waters said that as of 2 p.m., more than 4,200 of the town’s roughly 12,500 voters had made their ways to the polls. She said election day registration also was high with 60 people having registered at Town Hall today, compared to 9 people total last year when the service was first offered.
“They’re really going gung-ho on TV” in encouraging people to vote, said Democratic Registrar Diane Cramer.
“I’m glad people are taking an active interest in their community,” she added. “It’s a very good sign.
Those leaving polls at Town Hall and Great Neck Elementary School appeared to be voting “straight Republican” or “straight Democrat” for all races – gubernatorial, 38th District seat in the state House of Representatives, 20th District seat in the state Senate and for U.S. senators.
Campaigns for 38th District Republican candidate Kathleen McCarty and 20th District Republican candidate Paul Formica were at Great Neck at around 1 p.m., no Democratic campaigns in sight.
McCarty, who was holding a sign for her campaign alongside her grandson Brendan and former Representative Town Meeting member David Lewis, commented that Great Neck has historically voted Republican.
Voters asked who they voted for as they left the location all said they had voted Republican, with no exceptions.
Gail Boehm said she voted Republican “because I want change.”
“Not happy with the way things are going,” she said. “I don’t like being overtaxed.”
Voters interviewed at Town Hall diversified their choices a bit more.
Sandra Speziali said she voted Democratic all down the line with the exception of the 20th District race, in which she voted Republican.
She said she voted mostly Democratic because she wanted to see food prices go down and to see more aid for the homeless.
Of Formica, the 20th District Republican candidate, she said she liked his local roots.
“Paul Formica is new to me,” she said. “I like him. He’s been in the area a long time. He knows the people here.”
Another voter, Ding Zhou Li, said he voted all Republican because he wanted to see tax cuts. He was accompanied by his mother Li Hao and father Wang Bing, visiting from the Chinese province of Funang. Town officials allowed the parents to watch their son, a naturalized citizen, vote.
Li said she was interested in seeing the Democratic process in the United States.
“This is not something they can see in China,” said Ding.
Stories that may interest you
While high school graduation ceremonies about 12 weeks away, the uncertainty of the impact of the coronavirus have area school districts beginning to think about alternative plans.
Jacqui Keller warms up behind her screenless front door Sunday before the Music Unites Mystic event, in which people sang and played “America the Beautiful" from their front porches or driveway at noon.
Rhode Island state troopers and National Guard personnel began questioning all out-of-state drivers and informing them of a mandatory coronavirus quarantine.
Experts say parents should talk about the risk of contracting the virus, follow Centers for Disease Control recommendations, use common sense, and be consistent.