Not every Connecticut town has submitted their election results to the Office of the Secretary of the State, but so far, statewide voter turnout in Tuesday’s municipal elections is hovering around 30 percent – not far off the results of 2019, when the turnout was 33.55 percent, and 2017 when it was 30.01 percent.
Of course, the more interesting story is the turnout of individual towns, where voters flock to the polls to have their say on contentious local issues, but rarely turn out in numbers for votes on obscure boards and commissions.
In Guilford, one of the most high profile elections in the state served as a litmus test for how far the newfound, national wave of concern among some about “Critical Race Theory” in schools could carry candidates in Connecticut school board races.
In 2021, Guilford led all towns in the state with 61 percent voter turnout, after just 20 percent of voters turned out in 2019.
In towns like Roxbury with 59 percent turnout, Portland with 55 percent, East Haddam with 54 percent and Darien with 47 percent, voters turned out in relatively high numbers for open seat races to replace incumbent first selectmen.
Each of those towns was among the top 20 in voter turnout statewide, and in every case voters flipped the party of the previous first selectman.
In Colchester, 47 percent of voters went to the polls to vote out incumbent First Selectwoman Mary Bylone. The Democrat Bylone lost a contentious race to Republican Andreas Bisbikos, who made the case to voters that Bylone was a bully who made town hall a toxic environment during a divisive and vitriolic campaign that spilled into Facebook forums and town budget meetings.
In towns without a chief official on the ballot, voters were less enthusiastic to go to the polls. In Middletown, where important, but more obscure, races for Planning and Zoning, Board of Education, and charter revision questions drew just 20 percent of voters. In 2019, a mayoral race brought 42 percent of voters to the polls. And in Hartford, just 5 percent of voters turned out to fill four seats on the city’s school board.
In some places, even a race for a chief elected official didn’t draw voters. In Norwich, just 15 percent of voters came out to re-elect Mayor Peter Nystrom to his third term in office.
Note: These maps will be updated as more results are posted to the Secretary of the State’s website.