Letter: Questioning democracy in New Canaan
Published 3:24 pm, Monday, July 29, 2013
As a Town Council candidate at last Tuesday night's Republican caucus, I must say that I am outraged that the 6,650 registered Republicans in New Canaan were told that they can only cast their ballots on one evening for a one-hour period in the middle of the most popular vacation week of the summer.
If an elector was out of town for a specific hour on one specific evening because of business or personal commitments, he or she was denied the right to vote. Electors were told that ballots could be cast at 7:30 p.m.
However, the ballot boxes were not opened until approximately 8:10 p.m., and remained open for only one hour and five minutes. Electors needed to wait in a crowded lobby and outside in the heat as the lines did not move. Thirteen ballots were found in the trash, and approximately 40 to 50 electors waiting outside in the heat left without obtaining their ballots.
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Two years ago, when Town Council and Board of Education candidates were selected with early voting, approximately 2,250 electors, or 34 percent, of Republican electors cast ballots. Last Tuesday, 729 ballots were turned in -- 10.9 percent of Republican electors cast ballots. A decrease of 69 percent of ballots cast, 720 compared to 2,250 ballots. Far from being a consensus and representative of all Republican electors. Especially at a time of questionable accounting and financial policies and a large increase in the mill rate.
If you add the 2,000 independent registered voters in New Canaan, the ballots cast last Tuesday night represent only 8.4 percent of New Canaan electors.
This methodology is not the proper way to choose candidates who will manage the town's $130 million budget and $134.5 million of outstanding municipal debt.
One of the new candidates elected claimed this was not an important election. I disagree. This election, to me, is the most important. We must constrain the out-of-control spending. We must elect representatives with proven financial and managerial expertise who will give a voice to all the electors. Tuesday evening was nothing more than a popularity contest and New Canaan will suffer.