Moderators reported a steady stream of voters in West Hartford, but no major problems. [Updated]
By Ronni Newton
Updated, 6:40 p.m.
Updated voter turnout as of 6:30 p.m., according to the Registrar of Voters Office:
Updated 5:30 p.m.
Updated voter turnout according to the Registrar of Voters Office:
Updated, 3:30 p.m.
Voter turnout in West Hartford continued at a steady pace, with turnout– including more than 4,000 absentee ballots received – already exceeding 36% by 2 p.m., with six more hours left for voters to be cast.
While polling places were busy, there were rarely more than a handful of people in line. As of 2 p.m., there had also been 136 people who cast their votes at Election Day Registration at Town Hall.
The heaviest voting in terms of numbers was at Sedgwick Middle School, where 2,392 ballots had been cast as of 2 p.m. The number of voters at Bristow Middle School also exceeded 2,000.
Bugbee Elementary School had the highest turnout percentage by 2 p.m., at 33.1%. The lowest turnout was in the 1-1 and 4-1 districts – slices of the northeastern and southeastern sections of town where candidates who are already representing bordering towns, Bobby Gibson and Edwin Vargas, respectively, are incumbents running unopposed for state representative.
The brisk temperatures that returned Tuesday morning matched the activity at polling places in West Hartford – where the town has won the state’s Democracy Cup for its high voter turnout on multiple occasions.
Carole Mulready, moderator at Conard High School, said there was a long line of people waiting to enter the building when the polls opened at 6 a.m., and at 9:30 a.m. she said the pace had been “very steady” since that initial rush.
“A lot of people came to this site because they have always voted here,” Mulready said, but some of those voters had to be redirected because redistricting – due to the 2020 census – has resulted in revision to polling places for many voters.
“All in all it’s gone smoothly,” Mulready said, and even those who had to be sent to another location were not angry about it.
As of 9:30 a.m., just under 700 people had voted at Conard. At roughly the same time, reported vote totals at Bugbee and Sedgwick were roughly 500 and 1,000 respectively.
“Everything is going really well,” Beth Kyle, the Republican Registrar of Voters for West Hartford, said late Tuesday morning. She said it was a “steady busy-ness” at most locations, and there have been plenty of phone calls. At Sedgwick, and likely at some other locations, moderators already had to empty the ballot box because it was full. When that happens, she said, the moderators make an announcement, and after they empty the box the ballots are placed in a securely locked container.
Kyle did say that despite the registrars having sent out two postcards informing all registered voters in West Hartford of their correct polling place – a bright pink postcard prior to the August primaries and an orange postcard prior to the general election – some people were going to the wrong place. “Most are very amenable, and we told them it’s due to the state’s redistricting.”
Most of the people who are now assigned to vote at Conard formerly voted at Wolcott, so officials have added signage and people directing traffic to ensure they use the Berkshire Road parking lot to access the cafeteria, where voting is held.
According to Town Clerk Essie Labrot, 4,002 absentee ballots had been returned by 12:20 p.m. That number far exceeds the normal number of absentee ballots for a gubernatorial election year.
Check back with We-Ha.com for updates throughout the day.
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