4 pm update: Turnout figures across the city are trending low, and barring a late surge, will be hard-pressed to hit 20 percent citywide by 8 p.m. Black Rock, as usual, is the highest performing precinct, followed by the North End. But one third of the city’s 23 voting precincts had not broken out of percentage single digits by 3 p.m. In 2007, the last mayoral primary, the turnout was 25 percent. The registration is up from four years ago but the turnout will be challenged to reach the 8800 electors who voted in 2007.
Some UB students trying to vote at Roosevelt School were turned away this afternoon. Roughly 200 students were registered in the month of September on behalf of Mary-Jane Foster’s campaign. Some of the students have voted while some were turned away. Jim Callahan reports about 20 students didn’t have voting addresses that matched up with the checker sheets while others were listed as unaffiliated voters and cannot vote in a Democratic primary. John Kadaras, a Foster lawyer, argued the students should have been allowed to fill out an affidavit validating their correct address and allowed to vote. From the Foster campaign:
Foster: Election Day Moderators Turning Voters Away from Roosevelt School
Democratic candidate for mayor Mary-Jane Foster’s campaign is getting flooded with calls from voters complaining they were turned away by election moderators throughout the city. The Foster campaign has received more than 30 complaints and has brought the situation to the attention of the Secretary of State. As of this moment, the Registrar of Voters has personally visited Roosevelt School to look in to the situation there. Students at the University of Bridgeport vote at Roosevelt School. Because of dorm addresses being confused with the main university address, there was confusion surrounding the students’ voter registration.
“We asked for the Secretary of State to shine a bright light on these election proceedings to ensure a clean election and avoid any controversy,” stated Jason Bartlett, Foster’s campaign manager. “We definitely feel there needs to be an improvement to the effectiveness of the election hotline. At this time we do not know how many voters were improperly turned away before the moderators exhaustively checked the voter list.”
The Foster campaign registered approximately 200 students at UB as new voters. The people most likely to be disenfranchised by today’s actions are newly registered voters and students.
2:30 pm: City voting hit the halfway point at 1 pm. Jim Callahan provides a report. A drive-by at three precincts mid-day showed primary voting is proceeding without incident.
At Black Rock, a little more than 300 had voted by 1 pm. That is Mary-Jane Foster’s home precinct. It is generally agreed she must do well there to contend with Mayor Bill Finch.
The turnout is on par with that of four years ago when then-state Sen. Finch and challenger State Rep. Chris Caruso split Black Rock. So the district is on track to turn out at least that many voters this time.
The other precinct in the 130th District, Longfellow, by contrast, had turned out 95 voters by noon.
Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa and Democratic Vice Chair Dottie Guman were on their tour of the city to check out voters when they stopped at the precinct.
They knew of no reported voting problems. “It is light all over,” said Testa, “With the exception of maybe Black Rock.”
One note of juicy gossip: Testa and Guman had an unusually qualified driver for their vehicle. Former Mayor Joe Ganim was behind the wheel, laughing as he declined an interview request. He conceded he was just interested in what was going on. He and Testa have been friends for years.
Palm card workers for Foster and Finch said things were light at Roosevelt School in the South End around 11 a.m. George Ghoson, a South End worker for Foster, said about nine vans of University of Bridgeport students had voted, and more were expected. “It’s tough. You have to catch them between classes.”
UB students were a target group of the Foster campaign for registration. This precinct was carried by Finch handily four years ago, one of the precincts responsible for defeating Caruso.