A Big Part Of Democracy: Fairfielders Cast Their Votes – Patch.com
FAIRFIELD, CT — A sense of civic responsibility and interest in local issues drew Fairfielders to the polls on a gray and dreary Tuesday.
With no top-of-the-ticket race in 2021, town records showed most districts averaging roughly 30 percent voter turnout as of about 7 p.m. — comparable to the last similar local election in 2017, according to Registrar of Voters Matthew Waggner. The numbers Tuesday evening showed that District 6 had the lowest turnout, at 20.4 percent, and District 9 had the highest, at 35.5 percent.
Voters who did come out to cast their ballots in District 6 spoke passionately about the responsibility of participating in local elections.
Among them was Ana Olesky, a first-time voter who recently became a U.S. citizen.
“I’m excited about it,” she said.
Oleksy and her husband, Michael Oleksy, were voting at McKinley Elementary School in part to support their neighbor, Nina Velez, a Republican running for Representative Town Meeting. Both Velez and the Oleksy family have had severe flooding in their Halley Avenue community. Ana and Michael are hoping to see Velez and the town of Fairfield fight for federal funding to fix the issue.
“She feels the pain,” Ana said.
People who cast ballots in off-year elections tend to be experienced voters, according to Waggner. That was the case for Stephanie Carrow, who also voted at McKinley.
“I always vote,” she said, adding her ballot Tuesday included votes for candidates in multiple parties. “It’s a big part of democracy.”
Jessica Link, another District 6 voter, said she took the time to cast her ballot because of the direct impact of local political and government issues on Fairfield residents.
“I think it’s really important to vote in local elections,” she said.
Among the races decided Tuesday are Board of Finance, Representative Town Meeting, Town Plan and Zoning Commission, and many more.
Tuesday’s election was quiet, with no major issues, according to Waggner. In 2020, folded ballots — purchased in an effort to save $10,000 and designed to serve both absentee and in-person voters — jammed ballot readers more than usual.
“We learned our lesson,” Waggner said. “We’re not sharing with the town clerk anymore.”
Waggner expected about 10-15 percent of ballots in Tuesday’s election would be cast absentee — triple the number of absentee ballots in 2017, due to increased accesss to mail voting as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. He also noted many people were taking advantage of curbside voting Tuesday — more even than in 2020, at the height of the pandemic.