September 13th, 2011 | City

From the polls: Yalies join Dwight voters in Ward 2

Ward 2 aldermanic candidates Doug Bethea, left, and Frank Douglass posed for a picture outside the polls at the Troup School on Edgewood Avenue.
Ward 2 aldermanic candidates Doug Bethea, left, and Frank Douglass posed for a picture outside the polls at the Troup School on Edgewood Avenue. Photo by Alon Harish.

Crowds of supporters gathered of supporters gathered for Ward 2’s aldermanic candidates at the polls in Dwight.

Among them were Yale students who said today’s aldermanic primary, fought intensely by Trumbull dining hall cook Frank Douglass and street outreach worker Doug Bethea, brought more Yalies out to the polls than any election they could remember.

“I was shocked to see how many people were coming out to vote and working on campaigns — even people who aren’t very political,” Cokey Cohen ’12 said as she exited the polls with Scott Shinton ’12 and David Lindsey ’12.

Lindsey, who worked for the Douglass campaign, said both campaigns worked very hard to get residents out to vote. For example, he, Shinton and Cohen were given a ride to the polls at the Troup School on Edgewood Avenue by a Douglass supporter, he said.

The race to replace Gina Calder ’03 EPH ’08 as Ward 2 alderman has been among the city’s most contentious in a year marked by heightened political tensions. Still, Bethea and Douglass, who since the polls opened at 6 a.m. camped out on opposite sides of the entrance to the school, maintained an atmosphere of mutual respect and even camaraderie between their dozens of supporters.

“It’s a beautiful atmosphere,” Douglass said as he stood beside a nodding Bethea. “People are tired and just want to come together.”

The consensus of both campaigns was that turnout, which had exceeded 430 by 6:10 p.m., was higher than usual for an aldermanic primary.

That is a sign of people’s “cry for change,” mayoral candidate Clifton Graves said outside the school amid supporters of his bid to unseat Mayor John DeStefano Jr. Graves had already visited polling places in 20 wards and was attempting to visit the other 10 before polls close at 8 p.m.