Election wrap-up: a voter’s guide
Updated 1:57 pm, Tuesday, November 8, 2016
NEW CANAAN — With the 2016 presidential election just days away, the New Canaan News has put together a guide to answer any questions you may have. If you’re wondering where to vote, what’s on the ballot, or how to check if you’re registered, it’s all here.
Who’s voting in New Canaan?
As of Oct. 31, there are 13,773 registered voters in town, already about 400 more than were registered in 2012’s presidential election, and the number is rising. According to Registrar of Voters George Cody, his office has been registering people at a rate of roughly 40 to 50 a day in the lead up to Tuesday.
Of the town’s registered voters, 6,578 are Republican, 2,946 are Democrat, 4,137 are unaffiliated and 112 are registered with another party.
Voters can continue to register until 8 p.m. on Election Day in person, though the online and mail deadlines were Nov. 1.
Town Clerk Claudia Weber has also been busy, though perhaps not as busy as in past presidential elections, issuing 1,605 absentee ballots. As of Monday, more than 900 had been returned.
According to town documents, in the 2012 election about 1,800 absentee ballots were returned and counted, just under 20 percent of the total votes submitted by New Canaan residents. Weber said she expects a much higher number than 921 will be returned, and consequently, she’s expecting a busy few days leading up to the election.
Voters in New Canaan are broken into three districts, the largest of which is District 1, which covers more than half of the town’s land and in which more than half of the town’s voters — 7,453 — live.
Districts 2 and 3 cover smaller portions of land in the east and southeastern regions of the town. With 4,152 and 2,168 electors, respectively, the two districts share a state senator, currently Sen. Toni Boucher, R-26. Districts 1 and 2, however, are currently represented in the State House of Representatives by Republican Rep. Tom O’Dea, R-125. District 3 is currently represented by state Rep. Fred Wilms, R-142.
What’s on the ballot?
Besides the traditional candidates to choose from, New Canaan residents will need to weigh in on five questions regarding suggested amendments to the Town Charter as made by the Charter Revision Commission.
Despite that, the ballot item grabbing the lion’s share of attention is, of course, the race between White House-hopefuls, Democrat Hillary Clinton and her running mate Gov. Tim Kaine and Republican Donald Trump and his vice presidential running mate Gov. Mike Pence. Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, of the Libertarian Party and Green Party, respectively, are also on the ballot.
The choice for U.S. senator will come down to incumbent Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Republican state Rep. Dan Carter, Libertarian Richard Lion and Green Party candidate Jeffery Russell. In Connecticut’s fourth congressional district, Republican John Shaban will challenge Democratic incumbent Jim Himes.
Concerning New Canaan’s representatives in Hartford, there are slight differences from district to district.
Voters in Districts 2 and 3 will decide between the Republican incumbent Boucher and her challenger, Democrat Carolanne Curry, whereas voters in District 1 will choose between the Republican incumbent Franz, Democrat John Blankley and Green Party candidate Edward G. Hefflin.
In the race to represent New Canaan in the State House of Representatives, District 1 and 2 voters will choose between the incumbent O’Dea and Green Party newcomer Hector Lopez. District 3 voters will choose between incumbent Wilms and Working Families Party candidate Anna Duleep.
Where to vote?
Voters in District 1 can cast their ballots at the New Canaan High School Gym, 11 Farm Road. Voters in Districts 2 and 3 should go to the Saxe Middle School Gym, 468 South Ave., to vote. Both polling locations will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Additionally, unregistered voters can opt for Election-Day registration at the office of the Registrar of Voters in Town Hall. According to Cody, same day registration must be accepted by 8 p.m. in order to be eligible to vote, so he encourages voters not to turn up at 7:45 p.m. in case there is a line.
Absentee ballots are available in the Town Clerk’s office, also in Town Hall.
To check your Connecticut voter registration status, visit https://voterregistration.ct.gov/OLVR/welcome.do.