With scores of potential voters summering in the Vineyard, on the Cape or some other sand-swept locale -- an annual exodus that has diminished turnout at the polls -- Connecticut is continuing to provide for party enrollment by the Aug. 12 primaries for state office, including governor.
Unaffiliated voters and those who are not yet registered can vote in the primary if they enroll as a Republican or Democrat by Aug. 11.
"Obviously, the Republican primary for governor is generating some heat," said Av Harris, a spokesman for the Secretary of the State's Office.
Republicans will choose between private equity manager-turned-diplomat Tom Foley, of Greenwich, and state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, of Fairfield, to be their gubernatorial nominee. The winner will mount a challenge in the November election against Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
In addition to the Republican primary for governor, there are three Republicans vying for the lieutenant governor nomination, a Republican primary for comptroller, and several Democratic and Republican primaries for state Senate and House.
In New Canaan's District 3, Republican voters will be able to choose between Fred Wilms and Emily Wilson for the 142nd General Assembly District, which includes the northern and western parts of Norwalk.
Wilson, the party's endorsed candidate, is a Norwalk attorney, member of the city's Zoning Commission and president of the Norwalk Senior Center's board of directors. Wilms is a senior vice president at Webster Bank and former chairman of Norwalk's Board of Estimate and Taxation.
State election officials are expecting turnout to be light. Democrats and unaffiliated voters outnumber Republicans, and in the 2010 Republican primary, there was only 30 percent participation.
The gloomy turnout forecast is giving added ammunition to critics of the August primary date, chosen by the General Assembly a decade ago in response to a lawsuit over the state's election rules. Connecticut previously conducted its primaries in September.
"It's a very challenging time to campaign and conduct a primary in the dog days of August," Jerry Labriola Jr., chairman of the state GOP, said. "Most states hold primaries and settle their nominating contests in the late spring, which allows for a cooling-off period before mounting a full-fledged general election campaign."
Even Foley is tempering his expectations.
"I think August is probably not the best time, because a lot of people are away and not focusing on politics," Foley said. "I think turnout this time will be lower than it was last time around."
The New Canaan voter district map is on the town's website, newcanaan.info. District 1 residents vote at New Canaan High School, while Districts 2 and 3 vote at Saxe Middle School. Voters can also look up which district they are in on the secretary of the state's website, www.dir.ct.gov/sots/LookUp.aspx.
Mail and online registration for the Republican primary ended Thursday, Aug. 7, but voters can register in person until noon Monday in the offices of the town clerk or registrars of voters, both located at 237 Elm St.
Polling takes place from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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