Can Bridgeport catch an election break? Just days before a presidential election that produces the highest city turnout only five of the city’s 20-plus polling precincts had power as of Wednesday night–most of them schools–throwing local elections officials and Mayor Bill Finch into overdrive to accommodate Tuesday’s vote.
Here’s what’s going on after OIB received input from Bridgeport Democratic Registrar Sandi Ayala and the office of Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, the state’s chief elections official:
Only five of Bridgeport’s scheduled polling places have electricity. The mayor is working with UI to try to get power restored to all polling places in Bridgeport but the possibility remains that some of them will need to be moved or consolidated. Ayala says the city is currently in assessment mode. She said they will make that call by Friday night so adequate notice can be given to voters. City Hall has power where elections officials are able to prepare voting lists, and input newly registered voters into the system before the deadline Thursday at 8 p.m, charge batteries for the optical scanner machines in case they need to run them on battery power.
Av Harris, spokesman for SOTS, says “I would say right now we are most concerned about Bridgeport because the city was hit very hard by flooding, power outages there are serious, and it is the largest city in the state with many polling places. So you have a combination of the worst damage from the storm to a city where voting is naturally the most complicated because of its sheer size. But we are confident that voting will proceed as planned next Tuesday. If new polling places need to be found, they will be, and we hope proper adequate notice is given by the Registrars of Voters as required by state law. The picture will continue to change and develop greatly between today and the beginning of next week.”