McQuaid: Never saw that blank thing before

Rick McQuaid 090513 011
Norwalk Town Clerk Rick McQuaid won re-election last week in spite of his stiff competition.

NORWALK, Conn. – Guess who got the most votes in last week’s municipal election? The mysterious “Mr. Blank.”

It’s something Town Clerk Rick McQuaid says will haunt him for a long time, only because Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells will make sure it never goes away – although McQuaid was running unopposed in his first drive toward re-election, he only got 59 percent of the vote.

“They voted for blank instead of me,” McQuaid said, with a laugh. “Stuart Wells is never going to let me forget it.”

Sitting on a table in McQuaid’s office is a printout, made by Wells, showing in a large, bold typeface  the results of the election: McQuaid 9,972, Blanks 6,759.

McQuaid has been in Norwalk politics since he was a teenager, but, “The blank thing is new.”

“I’ve got to go out and find this Mr. Blanks and have a chat with him,” McQuaid said. “He got a lot of votes on everybody’s line. Mr. Blank ends up with probably 20,000 votes, so I don’t know what happened.”

Guess again. There were 59,321 blank ovals on the 16,761 ballots cast.

McQuaid has a theory.

“Blanks for me is an obvious thing,” he said. “If you look at the numbers in certain areas where the Democrats ran extremely well, I have a lot of blanks because they (voters) just go in there and they draw that Democrat line and if they don’t see a line they jump over that empty space and keep coloring in their dots.”

Another local pol, who shall remain unnamed, has another theory: bullet voting. That, according to MtHolyoke.edu, is “when a voter votes for only one candidate, when he or she had the option of voting for more than one” — such as in the Common Council at-large race, where voters could vote for five of 10 candidates. There were 11,868 blanks “cast,” more than for any candidate. The theory is that, if the voter has a favorite or favorite rising above the others, voting for just the one or two candidates keeps the other from getting that extra boost.

But how, then, to explain the blank voters in the town clerk’s race, where only one person was listed?

“I laugh about the blanks, I really do, because it’s the first time I’ve seen it,” McQuaid said.

Here’s a list of the blanks, per race:

Mayor 253

City treasurer 1,605

City sheriff 1,882

Town clerk 6,759

Council at large 11,868

BoE 9,923

Selectman 6,369

Constable 13,253

Council A 829

Council B 754

Council C 845

Council D 896

Council E 746

1st Taxing District Commissioner 327

1st Taxing District Treasurer 374

2nd Taxing District Commissioner 1,405 (nearly half of the 1,604 ballots cast)

2nd Taxing District Treasurer 357

3rd Taxing District Commissioner 210

3rd Taxing District Treasurer 283

6th Taxing District Commissioner 250

6th Taxing District Treasurer 133


10 responses to “McQuaid: Never saw that blank thing before”

  1. Mike Mushak

    Wow, all those votes for Blank! Just imagine how well our friend and former zoning commissioner Adam Blank would do if he ran for an elected position! (I can hear the sighs over this comment with my windows closed on this chilly morning. Sorry Adam!)
    Seriously, I can see how McQuaid got blanks with no opponent but the rest are weird. Were some not counted because the ovals weren’t filled in completely, like the infamous hanging chads in Gore vs. Bush? Or because some folks didn’t flip their ballot over and vote on the back? That would explain BoE blanks but not Common Council blanks of course. It is odd!

  2. Ken P Jr

    I think its evidence that alot of people find NONE of the candidates worth voting for. Seems funny at first but its something these clowns should be thinking about. Norwalk NEEDS better more taxpayer focused leadership. Thats something lacking from the top down. You get better representation in you are an illegal immigrant on welfare living in a housing project than if you are a taxpaying homeowner trying to make a life here.

  3. EastNorwalkChick

    @Ken P Jr – Undocumented immigrants cannot apply for welfare or live in government subsidized housing…a misnomer that the right loves to keep repeating.
    But you are correct that some people found that some of the candidates were worth voting for….

  4. Dawn

    It is a common fact and i have seen it first hand. Undocumented people find a way to get the services and they arr better than the rest of us.

  5. @EastNorwalkChick,
    “But you are correct that some people found that some of the candidates were worth voting for….”
    Either you misread, like to put a liberal spin on what was written or like to rewrite history so that if it is repeated enough, it seems like the truth …
    WHAT WAS WRITTEN by KenP Jr: “that alot of people find NONE of the candidates worth voting for. ”
    Why do you state the “right” uses illegal aliens as a misnomer? Everyone uses that term – lefties or the Right. They are not here legally…and they are foreign to the country. Not sure why you discredit a blatant fact?

  6. EveT

    Some voters leave a blank because they don’t know any of the candidates. In a city the size of Norwalk it’s impossible for ANY candidate to personally greet every voter and introduce himself or herself. Voters need to realize this. They need to make the effort to learn who the candidates are and where they stand on the issues. This information is available if you read the news and look up the candidate websites. You can also use the phone numbers and “contact us” portals to ask specific questions about where a candidate stands on an issue important to you. A cynical attitude that “none of them are worth voting for” does not do any good for the city or for the voter.

  7. Eve, you are preaching to the choir.
    If people really cared then they would do all that you said but in fact, most don’t.
    Most leave it blank because they have just had enough of politicians and leave it blank to send a message (received – but loud n clear?)
    Your “ways” to know the politicians is not new by any means and misinformed people will be always be the majority – that is the way it has been.
    Even the “informed” are “misinformed”.

  8. LWitherspoon

    How does Norwalk benefit from electing a Treasurer, Sheriff, Selectman, and Constables? We certainly never hear any of those candidates talking about issues pertaining to their jobs, with the exception of Anna Duleep who won the position of Sheriff after promising to use it as a platform to advocate for gun control.
    I would wager that a very high percentage – more than 75% – of voters don’t know the candidates or the job descriptions for these positions. It’s also rather ambiguous as to how much money they collect in fees. Anna Duleep promised to donate the first $1000 of fees collected to gun control efforts. What’s the total she can anticipate receiving?
    If there is a Charter Revision Commission, I hope they will study why we elect people to positions about which little is ever written in the press. It’s already hard enough getting informed and deciding on seven councilpeople, town clerk, and Mayor.

  9. D Maggs

    @Ken P jr The first part of your post makes A LOT sense because when it came to Duleep and Nikitas (sic) I skipped them. As well as Simms and Geake. Oh boy. I wouldn’t have felt good having voted for either of those two. So yeah, I skipped over those candidates due to a lack of appeal. It may not be far off to look at pena as a young Geake, because it wasn’t long ago that Geake was an All Pro (at least in some corners) but his divisiveness, shifty tommy tough nuts attitude has stripped him of any respect. Seems like pena may follow the same path…

    The part about the illegals seems to be off the mark. I don’t know how they’d get services if they are undocumented. But that may be a discussion for a different thread.

  10. M. Murray’s

    It is possible that a lot of voters went to the polls to support one or two candidates. Not knowing much about the others, and with the lack of a party lever, they just left everything else blank.

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