UPDATE: Lyons won reelection handily
At the midpoint of voting in the early afternoon, turnout is high at Winthrop School in the North End driven by students at Sacred Heart University upset over proposed housing regulations advanced in particular by City Councilwoman Michelle Lyons in response to constituents airing grievances about student partying in the neighborhood.
Some students had issues verifying their voting addresses. In some instances students were required to fill out an affidavit. SHU spokesperson Deb Noack characterized it as “borderline voter suppression.”
Most students said they had no problem voting.
Statement from Noack:
Some Sacred Heart University students who have gone to the polls at John Winthrop School have been experiencing borderline voter suppression. Examples range from requests for additional documentation, or a CT license in order to vote, delays of 40-45 minutes when there are no lines and being told their names are not on the list even though their registration card were submitted on time. Some have also been harassed and insulted by workers at the polls.
It is a shame that in a time when young people are often accused of apathy when it comes to politics that Sacred Heart students who are simply trying to exercise their rights as citizens of the U.S. and of Bridgeport are being treated this way at the polls. This is the opposite lesson we are trying to teach with our PioneerVote initiative.
Sacred Heart has notified the Secretary of the State’s office, and they are investigating.
Hundreds of students have registered to vote in recent weeks most of them voting at Winthrop School, a short distance from the university, to express displeasure at the polls for being singled out for criticism.
For background on this issue see here.
Meanwhile, turnout is moderate in most city precincts. Mayor Joe Ganim occupies the top line, followed by Republican John Rodriguez for mayor. State Senator Marilyn Moore, after losing a tight primary to Ganim, is waging a write-in candidacy for mayor. Her campaign has been educating voters about the two-step process to fill in the bubble on the write-in line then writing in her last name.
Moore’s campaign is uncharted territory for a write-in candidate. She brings a strong base of support in her State Senate district covering Black Rock, West Side and North End as was evidence in the primary. How much traction she has in the eastern portion of the city where Ganim will run strongest will help determine if she can pull off an upset.
If the machine count is close citywide, today’s vote like the primary could be determined by absentee ballots that should go heavily for Ganim.
When the polls close at 8 elections officials will hand count the write-in ballots so the final results will likely stretch out well into the evening.