Elections Government Politics

Tabulator Problem at Polling Place Doesn’t Impact Voters in West Hartford [Updated]

From left: Drew Malkin, Chris Barnes, Chris Williams, Chris Brewer, and Amanda Aronson stand outside Braeburn School early Tuesday morning greeting voters. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Voters head to the polls for West Hartford’s municipal election on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. [Updated, 6:55 p.m.]

By Ronni Newton

Updated 6:55 p.m.

As of 4 p.m., a total of 8,778 voters had cast their ballots in West Hartford, representing 21.9 percent of those registered.

Updated 2:50 p.m.

Republican Registrar of Voters Beth Kyle said that the process of voting continued unimpeded at the polling place at Hall High School in West Hartford, despite a malfunction of the tabulator.

Kyle said she was notified of the problem around 1:45 p.m., and went to the school to do some troubleshooting.

“Ballots weren’t being pulled through. They were spitting back out,” she said.

Voting was able to continue smoothly, however, with voters placing their completed ballots in an auxiliary bin next to the tabulator.

An alternate tabulator was brought out and put into use, and Kyle, along with the head moderator and Democratic and Republican assistant registrars, fed the ballots that had been placed in the auxiliary bin through the replacement tabulator.

“I then made an announcement, very loudly, that I would be putting all of the ballots through,” Kyle said. Because the tabulator starts its count from zero, the ballots that had gone through the first machine had to be run through again so they would be counted.

The entire process was handled following the exact directions set by the Secretary of State’s Office and the State Elections Enforcement Commission.

When she left Hall at about 2:40 p.m., the polling place was “100 percent functioning,” Kyle said.

Problems with the tabulators sometimes arise when it’s raining, even lightly, said Kyle. Drops can get onto the ballots or the machines from coats or umbrellas, and the machines are very sensitive. All tabulators had been fully serviced over the summer and were in good working order at the start of the day, she said.

As of 2 p.m., 7,010 votes had been cast in West Hartford, representing about 17.5 percent of registered voters, Kyle said.

Updated, 12:40 p.m.

As of noon, Republican Registrar of Voters Beth Kyle reported that 5,560 had voted in West Hartford, about 13.9 percent of those registered.

Original Story

Candidates from all parties and campaign volunteers were stationed the required 75 feet from the door of each of West Hartford’s nine polling places Tuesday, greeting voters as they headed inside to fill out their ballots in the municipal election.

Just before noon, Republican Registrar of Voters Beth Kyle reported that everything was running smoothly, and there had not been problems at any polling locations.

Tuesday’s election is for Town Council, Board of Education, and Town Clerk.

Terms on the West Hartford Town Council are for two years, and therefore all seats are up for grabs in each municipal election. Voters can choose six from among the six Democrats (Shari Cantor, Beth Kerrigan, Leon Davidoff, Ben Wenograd, Liam Sweeney, and Carol Anderson Blanks); five Republicans (Chris Williams, Mary Fay, Rick Bush, Lee Gold, and Al Cortes); and one Working Families Party (Janée Woods Weber) candidates on the ballot. Five of the Democrats are running as incumbents, and two Republicans are incumbents, while the rest are newcomers to the Town Council race.

There are three seats open for four-year terms on the Board of Education, and each voter can select two from among the three candidates running. Republican Mark Zydanowicz is an incumbent, while Democrats Sean Passan and Ari Steinberg are newcomers.

There is also a race for another Board of Education seat, to finish out the two years remaining in the term for the seat vacated by Cheryl Greenberg. Democrat Amanda Aronson was appointed to that seat over the summer and is running unopposed.

Town Clerk Essie Labrot is running unopposed for re-election to her position.

Click here for more specific information, a sample ballot, and to view candidate profiles.

According to Labrot, 792 Absentee Ballots had been returned as of Tuesday morning. She said a few more would be likely be delivered by mail or dropped off, and anticipated approximately 800 would be counted.

Kyle said as of 10:30 a.m. 3,791 votes had been cast – approximately 9.5 percent of registered voters. The highest turnout thus has been at Bristow Middle School and Braeburn Elementary School.

According to Kyle, voter turnout for a municipal election is typically in the 28-35 percent range. A total of 30.01 percent of West Hartford voters cast ballots in the 2017 municipal election, according to results on the Secretary of State’s website.

As of Oct. 29, 2019, West Hartford had 40,045 actively registered voters. Of those, 6,372 are registered Republican, 19,186 are registered Democrat, 587 are registered with a variety of minor parties, and 13,900 are unaffiliated.

Polls will close at 8 p.m., and complete results will be available later tonight.

Check back with We-Ha.com for the details.

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