November 2nd, 2010 | Uncategorized

Dispatch from the polls: Voter backup in East Rock

As the race for Ward 9 Alderman entered its final hours in East Rock, a backup caused some voters at Wilbur Cross High School to leave before casting their votes this morning.

But those voters were residents in Ward 10, a traditionally very high-turnout ward. The two wards had to vote together Wilbur Cross because East Rock Magnet School, the original polling location for Ward 9, is closed for renovations.

There are still questions about whether the polling station workers were processing voters inefficiently, or instead the sheer number of voters coming to vote at once was to blame for the long lines at the polling station, Ward 10 Alderman Justin Elicker FES ’10 SOM ’10 said. The line for Ward 10 voters reached almost 70 people at its peak, and some on line had to leave to go to work, Elicker said.

“It would be unfortunate if a significant amount of people won’t vote as a result, especially if the elections are close,” Elicker said. “We’ll never know if it made a difference.”

Both candidates for Ward 9 alderman were standing outside the entrance to Wilbur Cross on Mitchell Drive to talk to voters despite the cold.

“I’m happy to see all the people I’ve met at doorsteps throughout the ward actually show up today,” said Matt Smith, the endorsed Democratic candidate.

The other candidate, Jessica Holmes, also a Democrat, lost her party’s nomination and as a result faces the disadvantage of her name being placed at the very bottom of the ballot. Smith’s name is located in Row B along with the rest of the Democratic ticket.

“Turnout has been good so far, but I’m hoping for better turnout in the evening among less likely voters, such as graduate students,” Holmes said.

At 4:00 p.m., the total vote tally for Ward 9 stood at 859, while in Ward 10 the total was 904, according to Assistant Registrar Harry Avakian.

The winner of the Ward 9 race will be announced immediately after polls close at 8 p.m. tonight, Elicker said.

  • TannerSmith

    They could have used a traffic cop in front of Wilbur Cross, that being said I think the problem was some people did not no which Ward they were in, anyone see the map of how the wards are drawn up? Gerry would be proud.