Town officials say they’re seeing an extremely high number of absentee ballots issued for next week’s midterm election, a likely sign that New Canaan will see strong voter turnout on Election Day.
As of Tuesday, the town had issued 1,017 absentee ballots, according to Town Clerk Claudia Weber. That compares with 564 absentee ballots issued in 2014, the last gubernatorial election year, she said.
Weber called the strong showing “tremendous” and “phenomenal.”
“I have never seen a midterm turnout for absentee ballots like this,” Weber told NewCanaanite.com.
“Turnout has been nonstop,” she added. “We are really happy that so many people are voting. It’s so important.”
In the 2016 presidential election year, Weber said, New Canaan issued 1,853 absentee ballots.
This year’s midterm elections are differentiated for local voters, in part, because both major parties have put forth candidates for four seats that represent New Canaan in the state legislature. Democrats Will Haskell and Alex Bergstein are challenging incumbent Republican state Sens. Toni Boucher (R-26th) and Scott Frantz (R-36th), respectively. In addition, incumbent Republican state Reps. Tom O’Dea (R-125th) and Fred Wilms (R-142nd) face challenges from Democrats Ross Tartell and Lucy Dathan, respectively.
In addition, Green Party candidate Megan Cassano is running for the 36th District state Senate seat. In 2014, only Green Party candidates challenged O’Dea and Frantz.
Other seats up for election on Nov. 6 include governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Secretary of the State and Attorney General.
In municipal elections, New Canaan generally sees a turnout of just under 30 percent of the electorate (2017’s nearly 39 percent was very unusual), Weber said, while gubernatorial election years see about 60 percent and presidential elections see about 90 percent. If the absentee ballots issued are any indication, Weber said, this year will be “much larger than 60 percent.”
Weber expressed concern that some are confusing absentee ballot voting with “early voting,” which Connecticut does not offer. Voters must fall into one of six categories in order to cast an absentee ballot, namely, that they’re serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, are absent from town during voting hours, are ill, are prevented from voting on Election Day for religious reasons, have official polling place duties elsewhere or have a physical disability.
Here’s a breakdown of voter count in New Canaan as of Oct. 1:
New Canaan Voter Count—Oct. 1, 2018
|By local voting district|