Turnout ranged from single digits to more than 40% in some Connecticut towns as polls drew to a close Tuesday in all of the state’s 169 cities and towns except Union, the last with May municipal elections.
Secretary of the State Stephanie Thomas told reporters at 6 p.m. that the average turnout was 21.84% in the 99 communities that had reported data to her office by 5 p.m. Statewide turnout was 27.44% as of 7 p.m., according to her spokesperson. No significant problems were reported, she said.
“So far, elections across the state are rolling out without incident,” Thomas said at noon, an assessment little changed as the day progressed. “We’ve had a couple of calls into the hotline. But happily, all the issues were easily resolved.”
As polls closed, a handful of towns reported turnouts above 50%, including Colebrook, Cornwall, Woodbridge and Ashford, Thomas said during an 8 p.m. call with reporters.
Bridgeport’s election is being conducted under the supervision of a state-appointed monitor and in the glare of local, state and national attention resulting from security video showing the mishandling of absentee ballots in the Democratic primary.
A Superior Court judge has ordered a do-over of the primary, concluding that Mayor Joseph P. Ganim’s win was tainted, citing evidence of numerous ballots being deposited in drop boxes by campaign workers, not the voters.
The general election is going forward, with the runner-up in the primary, John Gomes, on the ballot as an Independent Party candidate. If Gomes wins, he will ask the court to accept the results and forgo the second primary.
“I think this is far from over, and only a judge can make that determination,” Thomas said.
Thomas said votes will still count, at least in other Bridgeport races.
“I think what we can say for sure is that their votes for every other position on the ballot will count today,” she said.
In addition to the elections monitor, the state has four lawyers on call just to handle questions in Bridgeport.
The turnout in Bridgeport was 16.25% at 5 p.m.
Thomas said hotline calls were largely routine. By 6 p.m., the hotline handled 45 calls, fewer than normal, she said.
“We’ve seen things like someone loitering within the 75-foot line. We have had a couple of tabulators go down, but the backups are in place,” Thomas said.
No campaigning is allowed within a 75-foot perimeter marked at every polling place. The failure of a tabulator, an optical scanner that counts the votes marked in ovals on paper ballots, does not interrupt voting.
In the Farmington Valley suburb of Canton, a politically competitive town with an open race for first selectman, 36.8% of the 1,032 voters had voted by noon — a turnout that exceeds the statewide end-of-day mark of 32% in 2021.
The highest turnouts at 5 p.m. were: Woodbridge, 41.86%; Greenwich, 40.65%; Colebrook, 40.4%; Cornwall, 40%; New Canaan, 38.93% and Canton, 38.5%;
In Derby, where turnout was 20.66% at 5 p.m., Republican Mayor Richard Dzeikan is seeking reelection as a petitioning candidate after narrowly losing a primary to Gino DiGiovanni Jr., the GOP town chair and a criminal defendant in the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
With two Republicans on the ballot, Democrats are confident of a victory by their nominee Joseph DiMartino. He came close to unseating Dziekan in 2021.
Turnout in Stamford, where a charter revision fight was the biggest draw, was 17.8% at 5 p.m. There were no turnout numbers reported from Danbury, Hartford, New Haven or Waterbury, which all had mayoral contests.
As the last scheduled election before Connecticut moves to extended in-person voting in 2024, Tuesday marks the end of an era: The demise of a singular Election Day.
Next year, voters will have four days to cast in-person votes in the presidential primaries and special elections, seven days in other primaries and 14 days in general elections.
CT Mirror staff writer Katy Golvala contributed to this report.