PLYMOUTH - There was a long wait for people who showed up to vote at Terryville High School just before 8 p.m. Tuesday, but the voting in the midterm election actually went pretty smoothly, according to head moderator Sally Barnes.
Especially considering there were 4,211 people voting, she added.
A TV news crew showed up and filmed the line of waiting voters, making it look really bad, but “it was not anything exceptional,” she said.
Barnes said 54.21 percent of registered voters came out. Town Clerk Barbara Rockwell said that is comparable to the last gubernatorial election in 2014, when about 54 percent turned out.
“People were lined up in the hallway and outside the school door at 5:20 in the morning and it went like that the entire day,” Barnes said. “It never slowed down. When the polls officially close at 8 p.m. the rule is whoever is in the building in line gets to vote. I probably had between 300 and 400 people in the building when I locked the doors at 8 o’clock.”
Throughout the day most people had a 20 to 30 minute wait time, she said. “At the very end it was pushing maybe an hour and a half. The last person put their vote in, I believe, at about 9:05 or 9:10. Under the circumstances, just having one polling place and the rainy weather, my workers did a phenomenal job.”
Barnes said there were some problems with parking, as the high school was having a professional development day for the teachers at the same time as the voting. She also had to go out in the rain several times to bring ballots in privacy folders to people with mobility issues for curbside voting.
However, unlike some other Connecticut towns, there were no problems with wet ballots, she said. “I wrapped my coat around everything and I did not let so much as a drop of rain get on it. I have been working with these voting machines all these years and I know they do not like humidity or any kind of wetness.”
“We also had huge rolls of paper towels so when it was pouring we would hand them to the people and they would wipe their hands and their sleeves. Some people took their coats off and put them on the bleachers, so we were good,” she said.
Election Day Registration (EDR) was also not a problem. Barnes said she would go out to people waiting in line to ask if they were all registered. “Every once in a while a hand would go up and say ‘no, I’m not.’ So I explained EDR and sent them down to Town Hall, where not only do you get registered right then and there you can vote there too. No lines. I believe we had 52 EDRs.”
Barnes noted that the loss of Cheryl Gianesini, the longtime Democratic registrar of voters who died in July, was felt on Election Day.
“She used to be my babysitter, I knew her my whole life,” she said. “She is the one who trained me and introduced me to all the people at the state. The primary [in August] was our first time working without her and that was really tough.”
Plymouth voters preferred Republican candidate Bob Stefanowski, with 2,940 votes, over Democrat Ned Lamont, with 1,273 votes.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.