NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk voters went to the polls Tuesday, in small numbers but with a big sense of civic duty.
“There’s a lot of people that have fought for this right to come out and vote, (I) just think it’s something that’s important for us to come out and make a difference,” Basiru Danazumi said, after voting in the Presidential primary at Marvin Elementary School. He cast his ballot for Joe Biden, “just to show support.”
Less than 2,000 people had gone to the polls to vote at about 6 p.m., Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells said. That’s less than 25 percent of the ballots that were cast in the 2016 Presidential primary.
“Of course, we have already received close to 5,000 Absentee Ballots, and more are coming because today’s Governor’s Executive Order allows us to count any Absentee Ballots with an August 11 postmark as long as they are received from the post office by Thursday, August 13. By comparison, only about 400 Absentee Ballots were received in the 2016 Presidential Primary,” Wells wrote.
So, vote tallies won’t be available until Thursday.
Inside Marvin, Peter Halladay was working the polls in the socially distanced way necessary under COVID-19. He called the event a “waste of money,” as everyone knew President Donald Trump was going to be the Republican nominee and Biden his Democratic challenger.
Tasheedah Roberts, poll moderator, said there were few people coming in to vote. The biggest issue was people bringing in absentee ballots and expecting to hand them in.
Since City Hall was a short drive away, most chose to go drop them in the ballot box there, she said. Some chose to cast a ballot in person instead.
Town Clerk Rick McQuaid recently said that poll workers would be able to tell if people were attempting to vote twice by voting in person after mailing absentee ballots.
“If that doesn’t happen, we will have a backup plan we’ve already discussed the last few days that we’re still do check offs from the ballots that we have, the envelopes we have. The registrar of voters will do check off on the books that go out to the polls,” McQuaid said.
Information from ballots coming in during the day will be immediately given to registrars and the information sent to the polls, he said.
Laura Smits, moderator at Nathan Hale Middle School, also said people were bringing in absentee ballots.
“They chose to vote here,” she said, also noting that they can’t vote twice.
Then there were typical polling problems, voters showing up at the wrong polls because the locations shift from municipal election locations and state/federal locations, and voters getting frustrated because they can’t vote in a primary because they aren’t registered in a party.
“There’s always a little bit of frustration in Connecticut. That’s not unusual for closed primary system,” Smits said.
Darraugh Cianfichi was among those who couldn’t vote, she said, standing outside Nathan Hale with her mask on although she was out in the open and could have removed it. She expressed embarrassment about not being registered in a party but said she’ll be ready for the next one.
So why come out to vote during a pandemic when you know what the outcome of the election will be?
She said, “You can’t have rights without having duties.”