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    Op-Ed
    Monday, March 04, 2024

    Democracy is not a spectator sport

    Don’t wait. It’s time to register to vote. If you’re registered it’s time to check your polling place and candidates.

    The League’s VOTE411 website asks questions of your candidates. Use it to find out what candidates stand for. No response? Call and ask them to respond. Voters need to know candidates’ positions.

    Every vote matters

    Your vote counts. Just last year, every vote made the difference in a state representative election in Southington: Chris Poulos, a high school Spanish teacher, initially held a six-vote lead. A mandatory recount narrowed the gap even further to just one vote, with the final tally at 5,297 to 5,296 in favor of Poulos.

    Five votes made the difference for the winner in the 2021 primary election for Groton City mayor, while in 2013, the Griswold first selectman won his race by two votes. (His son’s high school friends might have made the difference.)

    In 2002, a Torrington state representative for the 65th District won by one vote, and the Second District U.S. Congressional representative in 1994 won by four votes, out of more than 186,000 cast. A review by Supreme Court justices later boosted it to 21 votes.

    Voters show up in notoriously low numbers for local elections. Don’t miss your chance to make a difference.

    When we hear, “I’m not interested in politics,” we like to remind folks that politics governs our everyday lives. Local councilors, mayors, and selectmen decide on policies that protect our safety via our town police, firefighters, and other first responders.

    Our Boards of Education help us bring up our children by creating policy and supporting our educators. Our libraries are a center of learning. Town and city governments are charged with protecting our health and the environment and with providing decent places for us to live.

    How does your town rate?

    Very few citizens choose who will govern your town. Want to get annoyed about voter turnout? Check out the 2019 Secretary of the State’s statistics for elections in your town.

    Here are some examples:

    East Lyme 25.8%

    Groton 16.7%

    Ledyard 33.65%

    New London 13.5%

    North Stonington 25.3%

    Norwich 15%

    Old Lyme 36.7%

    Sprague 32.7%

    Stonington 20.5%

    Waterford 24.6%

    Make a plan to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

    Remember, “Democracy is not a spectator sport.”

    This was submitted by Irene Weiss of Mystic on behalf of the League of Women Voters of Southeastern Connecticut.

    Comment threads are monitored for 48 hours after publication and then closed.