Town officials said today absentee ballot requests and registrations show high Westport voter interest in the Nov. 8 presidential election.
Town Clerk Patricia Strauss said absentee ballot traffic in her office has been heavy. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
“The traffic in my office is unusually heavy,” said Town Clerk Patricia Strauss, who is in charge of absentee ballot distribution. “People are very excited and very emotional.”
She said in the five days since absentee ballots became available on Monday, her office has distributed 1,382 ballots with 320 returned so far by the end of business today.
Absentee ballot requests have come from a wide-ranging geography, including Singapore, Hong Kong, United Kingdom (“many,” she said), Sweden France, Denmark, Canada the Netherlands, Israel and Portugal.
“Many of these ballots are coming from young voters,” Strauss said. “I’m happy to see students are showing so pronounced an interest in voting.”
Strauss said in the most recent presidential election in 2012, there were 2,486 absentee ballots counted – with incumbent Barack Obama in office—while in 2008 there were 2,599 absentee ballots returned when there was no incumbent.
The town’s registrars of voters reported similar high voter interest.
Democratic Registrar of Voters Marla Cowden and her Republican counterpart, Kevin White, said so far in 2016, 2,542 new Westport voters have been processed, net of those who died or moved.
This breaks down to a voter roll today of 6,675 Democrats (38 percent), 4,583 Republicans (26 percent), and 6,039 (35 percent) unaffiliated, they said.
Since last November’s election, Democrats have added 1,101 new voters, Republicans 311, and unaffiliated 288, according to the registrars.
The deadline to register to vote is Tuesday, Nov. 1 with the deadline for online registration midnight that day, in person by 8 p.m., and by mail postmarked by Nov. 1. Those who miss this deadline may register on Election Day.
For those turning 18 between Nov. 1 and Nov. 8, or moving into town or becoming a citizen between those dates, they may register during that week up to and including on Election Day, according to the registrars.
Strauss said all absentee ballots must be returned by 8 p.m. on Election Day.
—Dave Matlow contributed reporting