Sacred Heart Students Turn Out Big In North End

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.



  1. Can these students vote in their home town and/or home state and also vote in Bridgeport? Can’t they only have one domicle? Is the University suggesting that their students violate the law? It was always my understanding that students away at school voted at their legal residence. And voting against Ms Lyons won’t necessarily stop the challenge to zoning!

    But maybe all of the apartments with SHU students (Hillview area) should be reviewed for zoning compliance

    1. wrong!! when I was in college about 5 years ago in new york majority of the kids used there dorms as there address and voted at the fire house down the street from my college dorm. You can usually vote if you live on campus!!! If they sleep in the city they can vote in the city!

      1. I was saying you should only be registered for one location – so if still registered to vote in NJ then you shouldn’t be voting in CT. Shouldn’t vote in two jurisdictions. Should you still have a Jersey license and registration if you are claiming to be a CT resident?

      2. If they use the dorm as their permanent address then their license should reflect the same. I doubt any of them will change their license so in my opinion they’re not residents. They identified me by my license.

    2. That was the way it was when I was in college. We voted at our permanent residence address by absentee ballot if we were out of state. We did not participate boarding from college at the polls we were told that was illegal. That is why we all got absentee ballots for the elections.

      1. Give it a break, “when I was in college,” the only thing you did was to drive by a college, your dumb ass barely got out of high school. You are so dumb that you don’t even know how to spell your last name.

        1. College degree, my Masters from an Ivy and earning credits toward my PhD in my spare time. Jealous?? Studies have proven that less intelligent people are more likely to resort to swearing and put downs for lack of verbal and mental processing ability and frankly, no point to make but want to stay in a conversation. This really does sound like you. What are you jealous? You flatter. Why don’t you borrow my L since you have a raging hard on for my name. Change out your M and you’re just another boring Lackey.
          Ron Lackey.

          1. LOL, you got a GED diploma, you are so delusional that you need to start telling jokes like, “College degree, my Masters from an Ivy and earning credits toward my PhD in my spare time.” You are a real fake, any mother would proud if their son would proudly carries his mother’s name but not you, you are a total embarrassment to your family that you are ashamed and scare to use the God given name that your own mother and father gave you, sad but that’s what cowards are, sad.

  2. it’s not just the apartments bear Hillview that should be reviewed for zoning. it’s also the single family dwellings that have 5 or 6 cars parked in the driveway and out front on the street that should be checked
    if SHU wants to rent the North End out to students, then SHU should BUY the North End at fair market value. if the SHU students don’t like being singled out for their party hearty attitude they have two choices: party less hearty – or go to college ELSEWHERE

    1. I agree – but SHU directs students to these buildings and are probably in violation – bottom line is that SHU doesn’t give a as evidenced by this initiative. A single family living in one of these homes would do just as much or more for the local economy – the homes would not be vacant!

      1. It’s totally on the homeowner. They’re charging a lot of money I am sure per head rather than an overall rent with a lot of different leases. It’s very common in Fairfield u to do it that way. They make a tremendous amount more renting that way then they would on a lease even six times more. The fault lies on the landlord.

  3. Extra zoning enforces should be hired — and exiting employees from various department utilized — to close down the over-occupied, illegal SHU rooming/party houses in the city. Dilute disruptive, partying numbers in Bridgeport and dilute their political annoyance… In the mean-time, state legislation has to be crafted and passed to rein-in predatory, parasitic, bully-institution such as SHU, to make more accountable for student living accommodations for out-of-state/out-of-town recruitments, and the behavior of their students in host towns… And law suits against SHU, by the City and State, should be crafted and used, as necessary and appropriate…

  4. I will take the contrarian approach. I think it’s great that these SHU students are getting involved. Communication is the key to resolving conflicts. It will be interesting how this election works out in the North End.

  5. Dumping on these kids and SHU seems to be popular over the past few years.But what about this angle,all these homes in the north end are available to be rented out to SHU students because the homeowners are getting the hell out of BPT and moving to the suburbs.Would the north end residents feel better if they remained empty or rented to sec 8 tenants instead?
    And good for the kids going to the polls and voting to protect their interests.Lyons and Vizzo Panicia have been in office for a long time,they are rubber stamps for Mario & Joe,a change would do the North End good IMO.

  6. Harvey; there is a big market within lower-Fairfield County, Westchester County, and NYC for (relatively) affordable Bridgeport homes in the North End, by younger families priced out of the market in the aforementioned areas, who are seeking first homes within a feasible commute of their jobs…

    If the North End and Upper East Side of the city are going to remain residentially viable, we need to encourage families to move here, and discourage the overcrowded college occupations, with their neighborhood-destroying ways…

    We need to make changes with our local ordinances and state statute — along with focused, aggressive zoning enforcement — if we want this city to have any chance of rebounding socioeconomically… It won’t happen through the proliferation of illegal student housing…

    1. @Jeff Kohut
      Let me preface this with the fact that my wife and I are North End property owners who will not rent to college students or their parent proxies. I lived long enough in Hamden to watch the bullies/students from Quinnipiac destroy the neighborhoods near the college, now university.
      That said your premise that their is ” a big market within lower-Fairfield County, Westchester County, and NYC for (relatively) affordable Bridgeport homes in the North End, by younger families priced out of the market in the aforementioned areas, who are seeking first homes within a feasible commute of their jobs…” is a JOKE!

      No young family is interested in the HIGH taxes, lousy public education and corrupt government that Bridgeport offers.
      We see many of these same young families stretching to buy the lower end priced small homes in the southern part of Trumbull for that same feasible commute down the Merritt Parkway, but with excellent schools, a lower tax rate and an honest government.

      The north end typical 5-6 room ranches built in the late 50s and early 60s used to serve the purpose your state. As long as Bridgeport refuses to properly fund their public schools and get its fiscal house in order you will not attract these young families. You attract absentee landlords who stuff the properties with students, turning lawns into parking lots, or groups of new immigrants and working poor who buy/rent the homes and have multiple families sharing a too small space.
      The north end was and could be again a great place to raise a family, but won’t be until other things change in Bridgeport.

  7. Jeff, I can’t believe there is a “big market “ for affordable housing in Bpt’s North end,If that’s the case, why are there hundreds of homes for sale?..People are trying to get out of Bpt, not in.

  8. Sacred Heart University is an active participant in placing students in off-campus housing.
    They have created a rental market that has negatively impacted the single-family housing market in the North End.
    I worked in the polls at Central HS on Election Day. A small number of SHU students were unable to cast a ballot because their name did not appear on the voter list. At least one who could not vote claimed they had registered on-line or through ‘PioneerVote’.

    ‘PioneerVote’ is a contrived and phoney effort by Sacred lHeart Universty to demonstrate the impact they can have on anything that may threaten the expanding availability of seemingly unregulated off-campus housing.

    Mayors and city council members have had ample opportunity for many years to address guidelines for student off-campus housing. They have not.

    Existing zoning guideline restricting occupancy were put in place ten years ago with no support from elected officials. It appears that those zoning guidelines are ineffective or simply not enforced.

  9. Harvey; there are several factors effecting decisions of people to sell their homes in the North End — one big factor is advanced age of the sellers and the need to down-size go into assisted living. Other big factors are growing families looking to up-size to larger homes, as well as the general trend to get out of Connecticut…

    But there is a market for homes in Bridgeport consisting of families looking for affordable “starter” homes — I see it in my neighborhood… The other, ugly side of that coin, is the out-of-town investors looking to cash in on the SHU rental market… They buy homes and refurbish them with 3-4 extra, closet-size bedrooms, for illegal use as rooming houses… That ultimately devalues the surrounding homes creating neighborhood conditions that don’t register positively with real estate assessment measures…

    In any event, “family” purchases still have the upper hand in the market, and that can remain the dominant situation if the city does its job with housing-code enforcement and takes on SHU , directly about their failure to accommodate students that they recruit from out-of-town.

  10. Yes ! I witnessed this myself and wondered how many out-of-state students, who only arrived in Bridgeport for the first time in their lives in September, were allowed to vote in the recent Mayoral Election, as a result of “same-day voter registration”.

    Isn’t there any period of residency necessary in order to vote? I mean, these students are not Bridgeport tax payers or anything and their cars are registered out-of-state, in many instances. I don’t remember my brother being able to vote for local Selectmen or City Council Members in Storrs, CT. when he attended the University of Connecticut, since his primary residence was here in Bridgeport at that time..


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