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Election Day: Confusion over polling places; votes for Hillary and Wendell Willkie

Common Councilwoman Eloisa Melendez (D-District A), right, expressed dismay at missing the recent birthday of Common Councilwoman Sharon Stewart (D-At Large) on Tuesday at Kendall Elementary School.
Common Councilwoman Eloisa Melendez (D-District A), right, expressed dismay at missing the recent birthday of Common Councilwoman Sharon Stewart (D-At Large) on Tuesday at Kendall Elementary School.
Polls are open until 8 p.m.
Polls are open until 8 p.m.

Updated 6:04 p.m., with input from candidates and voters at West Rocks and Marvin; 6:25 p.m., more photos.

NORWALK, Conn. – Kendall or Tracey? Very slow or sorta slow? Voting for Hillary? Wendell Willkie???

Indeed, there was confusion about polling places and maybe which election this is, but there were also voters with myriad different reasons for their choices. Some were political, some personal, others? Well…

At West Rocks school, one registered Democrat said she made sure she came out to vote for incumbent Mayor Harry Rilling and Board of Education challenger Haroldo Williams, then “voted for the (individual) people.”

Mayor Harry Rilling greets a voter outside West Rocks Elementary on Tuesday afternoon.
Mayor Harry Rilling greets a voter outside West Rocks Elementary on Tuesday afternoon.

One man said he voted mostly Democratic, calling that a new behavior for him and attributing it to “the state of Norwalk.”

“I can’t put the Republicans back in,” he said. “In this town, you have to stick with Democratic because the corruption of the Republicans in this town is horrible.”

He did not elaborate.

Another man, who greeted Rilling warmly, said he voted for Straniti.

“My sister knows her and says that she is a good person. No particular reason, that’s why. I’m sorry, I don’t know what the issues are in this election,” he said.

For one Norwalker, the national GOP casts a long, dark shadow. Francine Robb said she has voted Democratic in the “last couple of elections.”

“I think the Republican Party, at least the national Republican Party, has come out with just such stringent, offensive approaches to helping our societal ills. I just feel they don’t offer much except really ‘no’s’. They just don’t have any problem solving except to saying this; I mean, I have nothing against making money, but rewarding the rich. They couldn’t care less for the middle class. They throw a few dollars to the poor and they think that’s a good tax plan.

“Their social issues, for a party that says they don’t want the government involved in your life, except what a woman does with her body, That offends me.,” she said. “So I feel like. even going down the line to a local level, that’s where you want to stop them because it’s from the local level you go up.”

Democratic District D Council candidate Bob Hard, right, schmoozes a voter.
Democratic District D Council candidate Bob Hard, right, schmoozes a voter.

Common Council candidate and former Zoning Commissioner Bob Hard knew he had his work cut out for him, running in District D on the Democratic Party ticket.

“D is a tough district for Democrats,” Hard said. “ … The mayor is such a magnet. It’s like having the Marines on your side. People just gravitate to him, he’s got, like, star power. He is so immensely charming and he encourages us.”

The response from the public has been really positive,” Rilling said, calling the mood of West Rocks voters “optimistic and upbeat.”

Rilling said he had been at West Rocks since 6:20 a.m. and was going to stay until 7:30 p.m.

“I did that the first time and I am not going to change,” Rilling said.

“I don’t take anything for granted.”

At-Large Council candidate and Republican incumbent Glenn Iannacone said the turnout was low.

“I would think it would be higher because of the weather,” he said.

Republican mayoral candidate Kelly Straniti and her son, Emerson Straniti, leave Marvin Elementary School to head for Brookside on Tuesday.
Republican mayoral candidate Kelly Straniti and her son, Emerson Straniti, leave Marvin Elementary School to head for Brookside on Tuesday.

Over at Marvin Elementary, Republican mayoral challenger Kelly Straniti was similarly optimistic.

“I think it’s going great,” Straniti said. “I’ve seen a lot of familiar and friendly faces today. I have been to all schools except Brookside; that’s where I am going now. Excited.”

“Turnout has been decent. For a municipal election? I am impressed,” District C Democratic Common Council candidate John Metsopolous said.

“It’s a nice day and we’re not cold,” Republican Councilman at-large candidate and incumbent Rich Bonenfant said. “Quite honestly, running at large, it’s a little different for me. The day went a lot faster than usual. When you are running in district, you are standing in the same place all day.” As an at-large candidate, “… You’re spending time on the road and seeing other things. You’re visiting other schools and saying hi to people, so it helps out.

Doris Gough, 90, is greeted by Republican Common Council candidate James Cahn on Tuesday at Kendall Elementary School.
Doris Gough, 90, is greeted by Republican Common Council candidate James Cahn on Tuesday at Kendall Elementary School.

Early Tuesday afternoon, confusion seemed to hit District A. Two voters at Kendall told NancyOnNorwalk they went to the wrong school.

Location was not the only confusion. One woman said she only lives down the street, but one year she’s at Kendall and another at Tracey. She said she had come to vote for Hillary, then allowed that she doesn’t usually vote and didn’t know who she would be voting for, just whoever felt right.

District A Republican Common Council candidate James Cahn was at Kendall this afternoon, and said about one in five voters is at the wrong poll. “I’ve pulled out the ‘Where do I vote?’ page on my phone a couple of times,” Cahn said.

Republican Board of Education candidate Joe Perella greets a voter Tuesday at Kendall Elementary School.
Republican Board of Education candidate Joe Perella greets a voter Tuesday at Kendall Elementary School.

Democratic At-Large Council candidate Sharon Stewart, also at Kendall, agreed. “A lot of people are asking me and I had to find out where they were going,” she said.

But Republican-backed unaffiliated Board of Education District A candidate Joe Perella said that, despite the confusion, “Everybody’s happy. It’s a nice day.”

Jerry Obuchowski said he voted for Wendell Willkie. One woman said she always votes Democrat, but Doris Gough, 90, said it was Republican all the way. Not that it would do any good.

“I’m fed up,” she said. “When they tell us Norwalk is moving ahead, do they really think that this mall is going to do anything?”

 

Voting’s a bit slow, but food drive is cooking

Norwalk Common Councilman David McCarthy (R-District E), left, and Common Councilman John Igneri (D-District E) keep a respectful distance as they wait to greet voters Tuesday at Brookside Elementary School.
Norwalk Common Councilman David McCarthy (R-District E), left, and Common Councilman John Igneri (D-District E) keep a respectful distance as they wait to greet voters Tuesday at Brookside Elementary School.

These was Election Day disagreement in the air at Brookside Elementary School early Tuesday afternoon, but what else is to be expected in a municipal election?

And Brookside is, after all, in District E.

Republican Common Council incumbent and candidate for a third term, David McCarthy, told NoN, “I saw the numbers posted and it seems way behind two years ago; real, real sluggish numbers coming out. I don’t know why.”

On the other side of the aisle, incumbent John Igneri, also bidding for a third term, didn’t seem to think it was that bad.

“It’s trailing 2013, but it’s about on par with 2011,” he said. “I think that’s to be expected, given we don’t have a major election going on right now. It’s municipal, which 2011 was. If I am correct, I think we’re maybe 95 percent of 2011.”

Lois Morgan, right, works her second election as a poll worker, Tuesday at Brookside Elementary School.
Lois Morgan, right, works her second election as a poll worker, Tuesday at Brookside Elementary School.

By 2 p.m., 453 people had voted at Brookside. The 2013 voting figures show that, by 2 p.m. 613 voters had passed through the polls. Citywide, totals lagged by just over 1,700 votes at 2 p.m.

In 2013, there were competitive races for ever position except town clerk. This year, Town Clerk Rick McQuaid is again unopposed, and there are unopposed candidates for Board of Education districts B and E and for District B Common Council.

Republican Town Committee Chairman Pete Torrano said today’s low turnout is part of a statewide trend.

“It’s not just here, it’s statewide,” he said around 3:30 p.m. at Kendall. “Local elections generally get more interest than they have, and how that plays out in the end, I’m not sure.”

Republican Common Council candidate Darline Perpignan waits for voters Tuesday at Kendall Elementary School.
Republican Common Council candidate Darline Perpignan waits for voters Tuesday at Kendall Elementary School.

District A Republican Common Council candidate Darline Perpignan’s husband, Eddie Perpignan, said there are “two to three cars every two to three minutes” at Tracey.

One area that was not lagging was the Election Day Food Drive.

“We’re getting a pretty good haul,” said Diane Cece. “We already heard there are two full boxes at West Rocks and, so far, reports from the other schools are a hardy turnout.”

This story will be updated throughout the day. Nancy Guenther Chapman is making the rounds of the polls; Mark Chapman is manning the rewrite desk at Election Central…

 

Election Day gallery (click to enlarge):

 

Comments

3 responses to “Election Day: Confusion over polling places; votes for Hillary and Wendell Willkie”

  1. Rob

    The patronizing outside is ridiculous. If a candidate wants to make an introduction fine but don’t hand me a card and tell me vote Row X. I’m not a sheep.

  2. Over the Top

    The Town Clerk race is really close!

  3. Keep it Real 100%

    Hope McQuade wins!

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