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Finally, Voter Turnout Numbers

by Staff Report | Nov 13, 2013 11:52am
(7) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Election 2013, Election Policy

A week after the 2013 municipal election, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill announced that 31.43 percent of voters cast their ballots last week.

The town with the highest voter turnout was Bridgewater, where 77.39 percent of registered voters cast ballots. Hartford came in dead last with 5.21 percent of registered voters casting ballots.

Click here to see how your town did.

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(7) Comments

posted by: robn | November 13, 2013  7:04pm

Voter turnout as a percentage of registered voters is interesting but somewhat misleading. The SOS should include percentage of eligible voters on her list. It would be as simple as checking census data those above 18 years in each town.

posted by: Noteworthy | November 14, 2013  7:04am

The turnout by registered voters is really bad. It shows to what level basic civil engagement has fallen. If turnout is overlaid on eligible voters, the numbers would be worse. We have voter registrars in every town and city; we have a Secretary of State’s office all of which cost a lot of money. Why aren’t these offices and officials actively trying to engage the citizens, to register voters, to speak out about how important it is to vote? You never hear a peep until election time and by then, there are another two years of politicians helping to alienate voters, dismiss taxpayers and denigrate each other and anybody with whom they disagree while they pursue their own agenda some of which are dishonestly presented. Do you think there is any connection between low turnout and tainted politics?

posted by: LongJohn47 | November 14, 2013  12:59pm

Noteworthy,

How can you blame this on the SoS or local officials?  They, and the League of Women Voters, work tirelessly to get people involved.  Do you expect the local Registrars to go door-to-door and register people to vote?  Most of them are part-time at best, and don’t have that mandate.

Local party committees have become ineffective, towns are mostly one party or the other so there really isn’t any choice, and on the whole Connecticut is run pretty well at the local level in a non-partisan way so most citizens don’t see a need to get involved.

I’ve been actively involved with GOTV efforts and can tell you it’s very difficult.

posted by: Stan Muzyk | November 14, 2013  8:34pm

LongJohn47:  Agree. “You hit the nail on the head.’

posted by: LongJohn47 | November 15, 2013  12:50am

robn—It’s not that simple.  Census data includes aliens, both with/without green cards, and they can’t vote.

You point is well-taken, however.  Pew estimates that 25% of Americans who are eligible to vote don’t register, so when 40% turn out that’s really 30% (40% x 75%), and if the vote splits 51-49 then only 15% of the eligible population is actually making the decision. 

Pretty pathetic.

posted by: Noteworthy | November 15, 2013  7:34am

LongJohn:

In New Haven, there are three Registrars. There is one for each party plus staff. The SOS’s office has time to spend, or had time to spend on newsletters to Dem elites every month. Even part time Registrar’s office in smaller cities have zero time to advocate for more voter engagement? It is silly to the extreme to suggest they go door to door to register voters. It is a smokescreen for never saying a word about the need to be at least minimally engaged in the civic process. How about holding registration drives in high schools for those who are 18? How about speaking engagements at high schools and community events. It is unacceptable to note poor voter turnout and forget about it the next day. It seems to me that the people who should be concerned about voter engagement are the people in charge of voter registration. The alternative is to do nothing with the same predictable result.

posted by: LongJohn47 | November 15, 2013  10:21am

Noteworthy—I have no idea what town you live in, but let me suggest that you go to your local Registrars and have this conversation with them.  I think if you tell them they “cost a lot of money” they would laugh you out of the office.

In my town the registrars do go to the high schools every year to register young voters.  In addition, they work closely with the LWV who go in to both the high school and the middle school and teach classes specifically designed to foster voter registration and involvement.

The job of the Registrars is to run elections.  Part of that is registering voters.  Another part is paring the rolls of those who are no longer eligible.  Another part is hiring and supervising those who work at the polls on election day.  In most towns the job is part-time with very limited support staff.

If you want everyone to vote, the answer is simple.  Adopt the system used very successfully in Australia, where everyone is required by law to vote.  But you would probably object to government mandated elections.