Wednesday, December 01, 2021

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Early Voter Turnout

By Jarret Liotta

Hundreds of people began Election Day lined up to vote outside of Greens Farms Elementary—more than many people have ever seen before.

Suzanne Hermus, Westport CT, waiting to vote at Greens Farms Elementary, Nov. 3, 2020, by Jarret Liotta
Suzanne Hermus of Westport was among hundreds of voters who made up an incredibly long line this morning at Greens Farms Elementary when the polls opened. “When you see it it’s pretty incredible,” she said. “I’ve voted many years here in the past and I’ve never seen this before.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jarret Liotta for WestportNow.com

“When you see it, it’s pretty incredible,” said Suzanne Hermus of Westport, who likewise wasn’t surprised by a queue that—even with social distancing—was remarkably long.

“I’ve voted many years here in the past and I’ve never seen this before,” she said, standing on a line that circled the parking lot and rolled partway down the driveway.

“This is what democracy should look like,” said Nancy Dodderidge of Westport, who was impressed with the civility and tangible commitment of volunteers and voters in attendance.

“People being respectful of one another, waiting patiently, volunteers out in the cold, all supporting democracy and hopefully the peaceful transition of power,” she said.

“It’s reassuring to see, especially in light of all the craziness they’re predicting after the results come out,” she said.

Inside it was business as usual as election officials prepared for a long day at the site that serves both Districts 4 and 5.

“We had some people here at five when we came in,” Moderator Ann Karrick noted, but couldn’t place a guess on what the turnout would be like owing to a large number of absentee ballots expected.

“Normally we have a steady trickle during the day, so we’ll see if it’s going to be similar,” she said.

“I’m just here to focus and be prepared for the influx that may or may not happen,” noted Nicole Klein, assistant registrar.

“There’s been a big number of absentees,” she said, but likewise concurred there was no way of knowing what that meant for the in-person turnout.

“It’s different because we don’t have commuters,” Karrick said of the traditional morning rush in the past 15 or so years she has worked the polls at Greens Farms.

Daphne Blackwell of Westport was second on line to vote at this location.

“It’s important to vote and to beat the long lines. We were here before five,” noting it was also cold having to wait outside.

“We didn’t want to do it by mail,” she said, echoing a sentiment expressed by several people. “We’ve always represented—going into the polls—and we’ll continue.”

“I wanted to beat the longer lines,” said Trema Voytek of Westport, “so I got here at 5:35 and there were already 20 people in front of me.”

She said she hadn’t had to stand in line to vote since the 1984 election, when incumbent Ronald Reagan was pitted against Walter Mondale.

Ironically there were no campaigners outside at Greens Farms touting respective candidates first thing in the morning as is customary, though several people volunteered a clue as to their choice this year in the presidential race.

“What brought me out is I want a good night’s sleep,” said one man who asked not to be identified but described himself as a “Reagan Republican” who was voting for Joseph Biden.

“There’s a lot of us,” he said.

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