Wells, Mangiacopra explain ‘WFP’ and ‘UNK’

Moccia's last council meeting 111213 0131
John Igneri, left, shakes hands with Warren Peña at the conclusion of the last meeting of the 2011-2013 Common Council.

Corrections: Heidi Keyes’  WFP and UNK totals were mistakenly subtracted from Sherelle Harris’ vote totals. We have corrected the error below.

NORWALK, Conn. – Harry Rilling would not have been the most popular politician in Norwalk last week if not for Working Families Party (WFP) votes – at least that’s what a questionable bit of math shows.

In response to a story posted Sunday, a NancyOnNorwalk reader asked to see what the vote tallies would be without “WFP” and “UNK” votes.

“I read your article about Warren Peña and what the results might have been had he gained the working parties endorsement,” the reader wrote in an email. “I also read your article with all of the candidates’ vote numbers. I would like to see the results with straight votes, minus the working families or any other endorsement. Can you provide those numbers in the format of a city-wide horse race minus the outside endorsements in the same succinct format? It would be interesting to see where Warren and some of the other candidate fell with WKF and UNK endorsements out of the equation.”

OK, that’s at the end of this story. First some information about the Working Families Party from Democratic District D Chairman Vinny Mangiacopra.

“The party is established to represent working class people,” he said. “There are voters out there that go and they vote for those people because they believe that party is going to represent their families or their lifestyle. So a select group of voters will look for people who are on that line and support them. I would say 80 percent of the time those voters are traditionally Democrats, absolutely.”

Democrat Deb Goldstein, a 3-year resident of Norwalk, said that, in New York, she would vote the WFP line if a candidate had it, but vote for the candidate as a Democrat if they didn’t.

“I would give them the vote on that line just as a message to the party in general that if a percentage of their vote is coming from a more liberal party endorsement, they’ve got to stop catering to the middle,” she said. “I don’t know if that’s what they do here or not. Based on the number of blanks, my guess is that people went in and voted for mayor, what they knew, and nothing else.”

Democratic Registrar Stuart Wells said the “UNK” on his list of total votes stands for “unknown,”voters who blackened both the WFP and Democrat ovals.

“This counts as one vote, which is assigned to Unknown Party,” he said in an email. “Eventually these votes are allocated to the actual parties based on the number of votes the candidate received from those parties. If a candidate got 80 votes on the DEM line and 20 on the WFP line, then 80 percent of the votes on the UNK line are allocated to the Democratic party and 20 percent are allocated to the Working Families Party.”

We won’t find out who write-in votes went to.

“Write in votes are only counted if they are for a registered write in candidate or for a candidate already on the ballot,” he said. “There were no registered write-in candidates this year. That law prevents people from writing in a vote for Mickey Mouse, or themselves, and having it appear in the newspaper and in the official election records.”

Now for the requested list:

Rick McQuaid 9,972

Anna Duleep 8,198

Ralph Depanfilis 8,182

Harry Rilling 8,146 (his total without 346 WFP votes and 514 unknown voters)

Doug Hempstead 7,806

Richard Bonenfant 7,586

Richard Moccia 7,514

Glenn Iannaccone 7,497

Bruce Kimmel 7,465

Warren Peña 7,285

Fred Bondi 7,231

Olivia Dardy 7,183

Brenda Penn-Williams 7,119

Ray Dunlap 7,070

David Jaegar 7,002

Joe Kendy 6,948

Artie Kassimis 6,917

Heidi Keyes 6,858 (her total without 522 WFP votes and 137 unknown votes)

John Romano 6,812

Sharon Stewart 6,716 (her total without 447 WFP votes and 215 unknown voters)

Nikitas Handrinos 6,702

Peter Andreoli 6,592

Sherelle Harris 6,574

Deidra Davis 6,567

George LaMonica 6,526

Sue Haynie 6,500

Shirley Mosby 6,473 (her total without 586 WFP votes and 285 unknown votes)

Ari Disraelly 6,356

Chrisley Ceme 6,325

Haroldo Williams 6,234

Art Scialabba 6,173

Lauren Rosato 6,109

John Bazzano 6,130

Steve Colarossi 2,074

Andres Roman 1,795

Two in-district candidates also got Working Families votes. Common Councilman David Watts (D-District A) got 93 WFP and 42 unknown votes. He got a total of 1,531 votes, easily topping the third-place finisher, Republican Robert Mercurio.

John Kydes got 133 Working Families votes and 71 unknown votes in his successful effort to get elected as a District C councilman. Kydes had a total of 2,022 votes, compared to second place finisher Michelle Maggio’s 1,779.


14 responses to “Wells, Mangiacopra explain ‘WFP’ and ‘UNK’”

  1. Stuart Wells

    It is reasonable to assume that some voters, and possibly many voters, who voted on the Working Families ballot line, might not have voted for a candidate whose name appeared only on the Democratic ballot line. However, a vote which is recorded for a given candidate on the UNK, i.e. Unknown Party line is created by a voter filling in the oval on BOTH the Democratic Party line and also on the Working Families line. It does not seem reasonable to exclude these votes when considering the votes a candidate received on the Democratic ballot line. It seems more reasonable to assume that the candidate would have still gotten those votes if he had been nominated solely by the Democratic party.

  2. WOW!

    WOW! If not for a distracted moment in not filing with the WFP for their endorsement, Warren Pena would have easily been the top vote getter among all Common Council candidates. It’s obvious that Warren’s popularity runs far beyond just the Latino voters. I see a bright political future for this raising star.

  3. WOW!

    Oops, “rising” star!

  4. M Allen

    In the “what if” category, if the same people who voted for Harry had voted for Warren… Or if the same people who voted for Anna had voted for Warren… If Ross Perot hadn’t run in 1992… What’s the point in the mental gymnastics? WFP is a political subdivision of the Democratic party. They couldn’t figure out what was on the other line?

  5. EveT

    There seems to be a misunderstanding about what a Working Families Party vote means. A “straight vote” without WFP? Makes no sense. The vote total is the vote total, regardless of party.

    As Ms. Goldstein described, many people vote for a candidate on the WFP row if that choice is available, and they do this to show their support for the WFP party. The vote still counts for that candidate; it is just as legitimate a vote as it would be if voted on the row of the major party (usually Democratic).

    The same would be true if a candidate were endorsed by both Republican and, say, Libertarian Party. Or both Democratic and Green Party.

    WFP usually does not run candidates of its own, knowing they’d be unlikely to win and would instead take votes away from Democrats. Instead, WFP endorses individual candidates whose positions align with WFP positions. Those candidates are usually Democrats.

    The fact that some voters filled in the oval for a given candidate on both Dem and WFP rows (the “UNK” category) indicates a need to better inform voters about how to use the ballot.

  6. Ace22

    Thank you NON for breaking this down.

  7. Bruce Kimmel

    I think some people are still missing the main point here, which was explained clearly by Goldstein above. Many people who filled in the WFP circle would have voted for the Democratic candidate anyway; they were just sending a message to the local Democratic organization. This is not a zero-sum issue; nor is it bullet voting. It is really impossible to determine the additional bump received by the WFP endorsement.
    For instance, we seem to be assuming that there are four hundred plus voters in Norwalk who did NOT vote for Warren Pena because he did not have the WFP endorsement. I doubt that because most WFP voters are also Democrats. I realize that Pena ran a strong campaign, but I don’t think his actual total would have changed much with the WFP endorsement. His votes would have probably been redistributed in a manner consistent with what Goldstein described.

  8. WOW!

    @MAllen and @Bruce Kimmel:

    I appreciate the “woulda, shoulda, coulda” speculative nature of this issue. However, the fact that Harry Rilling received 346 WFP votes and 514 UNK, with the other two city-wide undertickets outpacing him, this “woulda” boded well for Warren Pena. After all, why would someone have voted for Harry Rilling on the WFP line, Mr. Kimmel? And, MAllen, it’s quite obvious that many “couldn’t figure out what was on the other line,” as indicated by the number of UNK votes and the fact that the top of the Democratic ticket, Harry Rilling, received so many votes from WFP.

    It’s all academic and more than likely all of our comments are slanted because of party-leaning tendencies. Fair enough? Good luck to all. Here’s to a positive outcome in city government for the sake of all of Norwalk.

  9. M Allen

    Yeah, I’m not even trying to be slanted based on the politics of it. Trying to read the tea leaves is always fun. You get that many blanks and double votes and it’s always fun to wonder what it all means. Honestly, it means people don’t know how to vote. Don’t know how to punch their chads or maybe even read the ballot. I blame it on our education system. We need to teach to the vote. Kidding.

  10. The total reported votes cast for the six candidates on the Working Families Party line was 2131.
    The total votes for the two candidates for the newly-formed Norwalk Community Values party was 3868.
    It would appear that there are more voters in Norwalk looking for a non-partisan approach to city government than there are voters who vote WFP. Not that any of this analysis changes the results- but, in a discussion of Norwalk’s third parties, Norwalk Community Values has demonstrated greater electoral reach than the WFP. And, the vote total of Norwalk Community Values exceeded the minimum threshold required to become a regular third party.

  11. YourDaddy

    Despite all the glossy mailings and bravado leading up to the primary and general election, neither Pena nor Mangiacopra were elected. The best way to show a “bright future” is to actually garner enough votes to be elected. Over the last two election cycles, Harry Rilling is 1-0, Anna Duleep is 2-0, Pena is 1-1 and Mangiacopra is 0-2.

  12. M Allen

    Steve – I wouldn’t exactly say that those who voted one of the off-party lines were seeking non-partisan politics. WFP is basically an off-shoot of the Democratic Party and the same could probably be said of the NCV. You aren’t anti-partisan just because you aren’t one of the big two. You may in fact be even more partisan on the issues you are espousing. Exactly which working families does the WFP claim to represent?

  13. Max

    “Norwalk Community Values, aka (N.C.V,)has demonstrated greater electoral reach than the Working Families Party, aka (W.F.P.)”.
    Translation = I’ll be back. Think its great we have more choices. Eventually, with so many choices, it may actually become challenging to decide who to vote for or what party to support. Who has dibs on the “Democratic Oyster Republic Komittee”, aka the D.O.R.K. party?

  14. Karen, miss you George

    “The things that matter in this country have been reduced in choice. There are two political parties, there are a handful of insurance companies and six or seven banks that own and control us all.. But if you want a bagel they come in 57 flavors. Why? So there is an illusion that you have a choice”. A bagel is still a bagel no matter what the heck it tastes like, its still just dough with a hole in it. George Carlin

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