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Friday, October 29, 2004

Last-Minute Surge in Voter Registration in Westport

Westport voter registrations jumped almost 10 percent in the last four months with more than half the new registrants declining to affiliate with any political party, voter registrars said today.

Of the 1,492 new voters added to the rolls since the June primary, 838 (56.2 percent) registered as unaffiliated, 461 (30.8 percent) registered as Democrats, and 193 (12.9 percent), registered as Republicans. There was no change in the number on minor party affiliations 19.

The town registration list of 17,288 voters as of today breaks down this way: unaffiliated 6,377 (36.9 percent); Republicans 5,483 (31.7 percent), Democrats 5,409 (31.3 percent),and minor parties 19.

Republican Registrar Judith Raines and Democratic Registrar Nita Cohen said registrations have gone smoothly despite the large numbers, but Cohen added, “This is not a normal election.”

Raines said about 150 Westporters have been hired to work at the six polling places on Tuesday.

Town Clerk Patricia Strauss said 2,098 absentee ballots had been mailed out and 1,676 returned as of today. The Town Clerk’s office will be open Saturday morning for those wishing to pick up absentee ballots.

The deadline to register was Oct. 19 but there are exceptions for newcomers to town and those turning 18 after that date.

Also this year, for the first time, people who can’t be immediately verified will be given a provisional ballot, Strauss said.

The provisional ballot only allows someone to vote for the federal officeholders—president, U.S. Senate and U.S. House. If the voter cannot be found on the rolls, the vote is not counted.

People who have not registered to vote can still vote for president, Strauss said.

The so-called presidential ballots are available from the Town Clerk’s office. They must be completed and returned to the clerk’s office—not the polling places—by the close of business on Election Day.

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Posted 10/29/04 at 07:48 PM  Permalink



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