'We Want Our Vote To Be Counted': Voters Take To The Polls Across The State | Connecticut Public Radio
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'We Want Our Vote To Be Counted': Voters Take To The Polls Across The State

Nov 3, 2020

Lines formed at polling places around the state before dawn on Tuesday, as people got ready to take the first opportunity in Connecticut to cast their ballots in person. 

“We don’t usually have this many, this early,” said Anne Greineder, Democratic registrar of voters in Mansfield. “People may be coming early because they’re worried about lines, but we expect a large turnout.”

Many voters mentioned the ongoing pandemic as one of the motivating factors behind their vote.

In Mansfield, Frank and Lucinda Vonduntz were thinking of their family as they cast their ballots.

“We haven’t seen our grandchildren since March, some of them,” said Lucinda. “It’s very hard to be so isolated.”

“It’s texting and FaceTime on the phone,” said Frank. “We have a granddaughter up in Vermont we haven’t seen since Christmas, and we won’t see her this Christmas either. It’s rough.”

But the two said that they wanted to vote in person, despite the coronavirus, because of the uncertainty created by President Donald Trump over counting absentee ballots.

“We risked it and came here because we want our vote to be counted,” said Frank Vonduntz.

Also in Mansfield, Vicki Magley said she wants more focus on controlling the pandemic. Connecticut’s coronavirus positivity rate has risen steadily in the last month, and Gov. Ned Lamont has announced the state will roll back to Phase 2 of reopening at the end of this week. Meanwhile, several states around the nation continue to report record-high numbers of both infections and hospitalizations.

A steady stream of people votes at Latimer Lane School in Simsbury, Connecticut, on Nov. 3.
Credit Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

“I’m voting because of the disbelief in science and also just the general mistreatment of people, that we can’t care for our needy and our elderly with COVID.” Magley said. “It’s ridiculous that we have such a disparity in income in such a wealthy country.”

Storrs resident Andy Smith echoed those thoughts.

“The inaction of our federal government is very enraging,” he said. “I think it has resources that have not been deployed. It’s shocking to see. History’s not going to be kind on the leadership of this time.”

Voting lines inside Latimer Lane School on Nov. 3 in Simsbury, Connecticut.
Credit Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Nyandah Robison is a small business owner who was voting in Hartford’s Clay Arsenal neighborhood.

“I think this election is very, very important, and I must say this is the first time I’ve voted in all my years,” said Robison, who migrated from Jamaica.

She said she didn’t take politics too seriously before, but this year, she’s counting on her vote to make a difference.

“I care about people understanding that we’re all humans regardless of race, color, or where we’re from, and we should be treated as such.”

Burlington residents line up outside Town Hall early on Nov. 3 to cast their votes in the 2020 presidential election.
Credit Julianne Varacchi / Connecticut Public

Sheryl Thomas was volunteering outside Robison’s polling place in Hartford, ready to direct voter traffic, a role she said she’s been fulfilling for 40 years.

“It’s been a big crowd, and it’s good to see so many people come out and vote,” she said. “I’ll be here all day, I'll drink my coffee and I’m good to go!”

Fellow volunteer Gordy Megget was excited to see young voters at the polls. “They’re looking for change,” he said.

Poll worker Angela Chen wipes down and sanitizes voting booths after each voter casts a ballot at the Conte-West Hills School in New Haven.
Credit Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

In New Haven, Mark Barros said it was important to him to vote in person. He waited in line for 20 minutes at the Lincoln-Bassett Community School, even though he’s a diabetic, which makes him vulnerable should he be infected with COVID-19.

He did it to make sure his vote counted.

“I came in person because I wanted to make sure my vote was here, and when they were talking about the mail-in thing and what was going on with that -- not sure if that’s gonna work,” Barros said.

At the same polling spot, Shirley Ann Lawrence said for her, voting in person is a tradition.

“I’ve been voting since I was eligible to vote, and the one reason why I continue to vote is I’m looking for changes in the neighborhood,” she said. “I’d just like to encourage young folks to exercise your right to vote.”

Voters cast their ballots in the Canton High School gymnasium that served as the polling place for the town of Canton, as well as the town clerk's counting operation.
Credit Tim Rasmussen / Connecticut Public
Poll worker Maureen Velazquez (right) helps voters get to the right polling location at the Conte-West Hills School in New Haven, where two polling sites were located.
Credit Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public
Harriet Douglass, 91, exits Conte-West Hills School polling place in New Haven after casting her ballot. “This is the biggie,” she said. “We hope to do what we’re supposed to do, and we wanna win.”
Credit Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public
Election workers Laura Radocy (L) and Harriet Boyko work together to open Absentee ballots and confirm them before passing the ballots for counting to Canton Town Clerk Linda Smith. Election Official Deneen Lockwood, in the background to the right, runs each ballot through the tabulator to count the vote. The Canton High School gymnasium was the polling place for the Town of Canton, as well as the Town Clerks counting operation.
Credit Tim Rasmussen / Connecticut Public
The voting line at the Liberty Christian Center in Hartford, Connecticut.
Credit Joe Amon / Connecticut Public
Jackie Silver sits in her son's car after casting her vote at the Dolan Middle School polling place in Stamford on Tuesday. She said the first time she voted was during the election of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. She's voted in 17 elections since.
Credit Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public
Poll worker Madison Teeples, 18, right, checks voters in at the Dolan Middle School polling place in Stamford from behind a plexiglass barrier. She says this was her first election voting, and hasn't seen many other people her age at the polls while she was working.
Credit Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public
Six-year-old Kyrie Rucker plays with his grandmother Terri Chever, 61, social distancing and waiting in line to vote at the Liberty Christian Center in Hartford.
Credit Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

85 year old Lillie Harper (left) heading inside to vote at the Liberty Christian Center on November 3, 2020 in Hartford.
Credit Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC
Lydia Zderkiewicz 31, and Adrian Cieplinski 43, in the second registration line at New Britain City Hall. They will have to go to another line to vote and expect to be here for 2 hours on November 03, 2020 in New Britain, Connecticut.
Credit Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Absentee ballot counters feeding the tabulation machine as voting goes on at New Britain City Hall on November 3.
Credit Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC
Pamela Rumble 59, proudly puts on her I voted sticker after her first time voting at New Britain City Hall on November 03, 2020 in New Britain, Connecticut.
Credit Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC
November 3, 2020: Poll workers Ruth Campbell (left) and Gary Hall (right) wrap up after a long day working at the Maloney Elementary School polling place in Waterbury
Credit Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public/NENC
Poll moderator Michele Cronin waits for results to print from the tabulator machine after the polls closed in Waterbury. She said that despite the logistical challenges of this year’s election, operations at her polling place went smoothly. "It’s honestly about the people. It’s how you interact. It’s how you make the day go by," she said.
Credit Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public