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The 2012 Presidential Election Will Go On in Montville

It’s going to take more than Hurricane Sandy to stop Montville from voting next Tuesday.

 

Registrar Mary Clark-Wilson said as it stands now, the 2012 presidential election will go on in Montville.

By mid-day Wednesday, around 100 of the state's 738 polling places were without electricity. Secretary of State Denise Merrill said she was "confident" all voting locations would be up and running in time for next week's election.

Clark-Wilson the situation conjures a bit of déjà vu. 

“Last year we had almost to the day, the exact same situation, only last year (a freak October snowstorm) hit the northern part of the state, this time, the storm is (centered) in the southern part,” Republican Registrar Clark-Wilson said.

Connecticut was faced with a similar situation in 2011 when a Halloween snowstorm knocked out electricity throughout the state before municipal elections. Merrill said she doesn't think that storm made much of an impact on the elections.

"We had the same dismally low turnout," Merrill said.

The good news

“We ready to go,” Clark-Wilson said. “All of our voting locations are up and running. I was concerned about Fair Oaks (Community Center) because it doesn’t have a generator, but I was informed today; the power’s on there. So our locations are up and running. It could have been so much worse. We are very fortunate. Look at New London they lost one of their polling places in the storm.”

Clark-Wilson said “because of what happened last year” the Secretary of State Denise Merrill encouraged registrars from across the state to do some preventative maintenance and create back-up plans. One idea she shared, Wilson took to heart and spent her Saturday last week creating pdf files of the voter list – just in case.

Secretary of State Merrill said she was in talks with Connecticut Light & Power and said that polling places, most of which are in municipal buildings such as schools and town halls,  are a priority for the utility companies.

There are 100 polling places in the coverage area of United Illuminating in the New Haven and Bridgeport area, but she said she hasn't received an update from the company.

"We have reached out to them," she said. "We just haven't heard back from them."

Nearly 500,000 customers from the two utility companies are without electricity as of 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Voter registration deadline extension and local concerns

One concern Clark-Wilson has is that at least 10 voters mailed their registrations in too late and also did not include any phone number for the registrar to call, so if a resident mailed in their registration and has not received any notification from the registrar, they must phone today in order to vote next Tuesday.

 

“We always try and call people but if they don’t give us any numbers…” she cannot reach folks.

 

Voting

State law forbids an absentee ballot being cast late simply because a voter is stuck at home, Merrill said. Ballots will be available from city and town halls on Election Day.

This past weekend Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy's disruptive power, extended the voter registration deadline statewide to Nov. 1.

 

And Clark Wilson will be in her office with Registrar Lorraine Elliott, Democrat until 8 p.m. Thursday waiting to register those residents to vote.

 

“This is our busiest week and we’ve lost two days (Tuesday and Wednesday, due to Hurricane Sandy). We’ll be busy,” she said. 

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