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Election 2012: The view from Fairfield as polls open

Updated 11:09 am, Tuesday, November 6, 2012

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  • Kathryn Youngberg Photo: Jarret Liotta

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    Photo: Jarret Liotta

 

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FAIRFIELD HEADS TO THE POLLS Voting in Fairfield for president, as well as congressional and legislative offices, takes place today (Tuesday, Nov. 6), from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Total number of registered Fairfield voters as of Oct. 26: 37,325 Democrats: 10,485 Republicans: 10,944 Unaffiliated: 15,620 Other: 276 Total number of votes cast in 2008: 31,745 Polling places District 1: Fairfield Senior Center District 2: St. Pius X School District 3: Dwight School District 4: Osborn Hill School District 5: McKinley School District 6: Fairfield Warde High School District 7: North Stratfield School District 8: Holland Hill School District 9: Fairfield Ludlowe High School District 10: Sherman School
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Hurricane Sandy may have thrown a wrench into the works, but Fairfield officials said they still plan to have all polling stations open for the presidential election today (Tuesday, Nov. 6).

And while who voters plan to cast their ballots for -- President Barack Obama or his Republican challenger Mitt Romney -- may not be the top issue on many minds right now in the wake of the massive storm, it was prior to the onslaught.

Jack Warren, 30, recently moved to Connecticut from Pennsylvania. He said he's not a registered voter, and isn't really inclined to rush over to the Registrars of Voters office to change that status.

"This is a `blue' state, right?" Warren said, referring to Connecticut's reputation as a state reliably in the Democratic column, as he sat at a picnic table on Sherman Green. With the Electoral College system of selecting the nation's commander in chief, he said, there's not much point in voting if you don't live in a so-called "swing state."

When it was pointed out to him that there also are candidates on the ballot for the state General Assembly and U.S. Congress, Warren shrugged his shoulders. He did say he usually votes Republican.

But 20-year-old Mike Campisi, of Fairfield, is eager to cast his ballot in his first presidential election -- even if he admits he hasn't quite decided for whom he'll be voting.

Walking out the Registrars of Voters office, Campisi said, "I figured my ancestors came over here for a reason, so I thought it was very important to honor that."

The number of voters registered in Fairfield as of Oct. 26 totaled 37,325, a slight uptick from the 2008 presidential election, when registered voters numbered 37,226, according to the Secretary of the State's website. The current breakdown is 10,485 Democrats, 10,944 Republicans, 15,620 unaffiliated voters and 276 registered with other political parties.

The town clerk's office estimates about 2,600 absentee ballots have been issued. In 2008, 3,344 absentee ballots were cast, though 55 of them ended up being rejected.

Local residents will still vote at the same 10 polling places, but because of state redistricting -- and a failure by Fairfield officials to agree on new boundaries for local districts -- some of those polling places will have to set up separate check-in lines for as many as three different state representative races.

Only two polling places, the Fairfield Senior Center in District 1 and Fairfield Ludlowe High School, in District 9, are not split between General Assembly districts.

And in addition to the party-endorsed candidates, there are nine registered write-in candidates for the U.S. Senate seat, six for president and six for vice president.

Ninety-year-old Charles Ohlenberg thinks Obama should be given another term.

"I think I'm voting for Obama because I think he's more civic-minded," Ohlenberg said. "I think the other one gives you all kids of promises and I don't like a person who makes all kinds of money in America and then puts it in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands."

He said Obama was handed a mess when elected four years ago, and it takes time to create change.

"I come from Europe," Ohlenberg said. "We had health care 100 years ago."

Health care is the reason Trumbull resident John Schod, 54, is voting for Romney.

"I'm gonna vote for Romney," Schod, an insurance broker, said. "I'm in the health-care field and it's been dramatically affected by Obamacare. And my business in particular, which I've run for 35 years, is basically being desiccated by the changes in the world."

After the election, Schod said, there will be changes to health-care costs "that'll knock everybody's socks off."

Romney's intention to cut funding for Planned Parenthood is what is influencing Julian Lopez, a 21-year-old Fairfield University student, to cast his vote for the president.

"Obama, because the big thing that influenced me is that Romney wants to cut Planned Parenthood and I just think that's wrong and will make a lot of trouble for the country," he said.

Stella Giansanti, 59, and retired and living in Fairfield's Southport section, is going with the challenger.

"Romney, because I think we have no jobs, the economy is bad, and this country is one of the best countries and we shouldn't be in this position right now," she said.

For Alan Soffer, 55, a farmer from Guilford, it doesn't much matter who the GOP puts up.

"I do not vote for Republicans for state or federal offices anymore because they thought it was a good idea to impeach President Clinton," he said. "Regardless of what you think, that was a terrible thing to do for the country."

Romney is the candidate for Anna Delcegno, 62, a retired school teacher from Easton. Obama, she said, is too liberal and too extreme.

"We've got to deal with the debt," she said. "There are no jobs. We've got to keep jobs over here. We cannot send jobs overseas. ... If we're not careful, we're going to become Greece."

Like Delcegno, Diana Martinez, 40, is in the teaching profession, but the Stamford resident said her vote is going to Obama. She said people seem to forget the current conditions were caused by Republican policies.

"As a woman, I feel Barack Obama has the most progressive policies," Martinez said, while she finds GOP policies "disturbing."

"I feel like the Republican Party would just want to cut everything," she said, adding that it's important to support social programs, particularly schools. "I'm willing to pay taxes to live in a more humane society."

Eric Bricmeyer, 18, and a Fairfield University student, said he's been a Republican for a while.

"I really like what (Romney) has to say about changing the economy, on small businesses," he said. "My parents own a small business, so it really hits home."

Correspondent Jarret Liotta contributed to this report.

FAIRFIELD HEADS TO THE POLLS

Voting in Fairfield for president, as well as congressional and legislative offices, takes place today (Tuesday, Nov. 6), from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Total number of registered Fairfield voters as of Oct. 26: 37,325

Democrats: 10,485

Republicans: 10,944

Unaffiliated: 15,620

Other: 276

Total number of votes cast in 2008: 31,745

Polling places

District 1: Fairfield Senior Center

District 2: St. Pius X School

District 3: Dwight School

District 4: Osborn Hill School

District 5: McKinley School

District 6: Fairfield Warde High School

District 7: North Stratfield School

District 8: Holland Hill School

District 9: Fairfield Ludlowe High School

District 10: Sherman School