New Canaan: Primary polls slow, most voters voted absentee

Officials put in a lot of work to make sure voters would keep socially distant while voting, including placing stickers six feet apart on the ground in case a line went out the door at Saxe Middle School.

But all that effort wasn’t needed.

That is partially because more than half of the town’s voters cast absentee ballots rather than going to the polls on Tuesday for the primary.

Final results of the voting will not be known until Thursday, at the earliest. Gov. Ned Lamont signed an executive order Monday ordering that all ballots postmarked by Tuesday, Aug. 11, and received by Thursday, Aug. 13, be counted.

Of the 1,814 votes recorded in New Canaan, 1,047, or 58 percent were from absentee ballots and 767, or 42 percent were cast in person at one of the two poll places in town.

Tuesday was a slow day at the polls: After the polls closed, registrars and poll watchers said the usual “commuter rush” in the morning and evening did not happen this year.

Once votes were tallied in New Canaan, Republican Kim Healy appears to have handily had won New Canaan in the 26th Senate District primary with 395 votes, or 78 percent, with 113 votes, or 22 percent, for former Rep. William Duff.

Of the votes in so far for the whole 26th District, which includes parts of New Canaan, Ridgefield, Redding, Westport and Wilton, Healy had 2,414, or 58 percent of the votes and Duff received 1,736, or 42 percent.

The winner will challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Will Haskell in the Nov. 3 general election.

In the presidential primaries, which drew about 900 voters from each party, Democrat Joe Biden received 838 votes, while President Donald Trump received 634 votes. Each is his respective party’s presumptive nominee and faced little opposition on the ballot.

Of those who voted Tuesday in town in the Republican presidential primary, 210, or 23 percent, cast ballots as uncommitted rather than vote for Trump. GOP candidate Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente received 67, or 7 percent of the vote.

Of the 911 Republicans who voted, 512, or 56 percent cast their ballots in person and 399, or 44 percent, used absentee ballots.

A total of 903 people voted in town in the Democratic primary, with 255, or 28 percent, at polling places and 648, or 72 percent, via absentee ballot. Tulsi Gabbard received six votes, Bernie Sanders got six and uncommitted garnered nine votes.

This was a challenging week for the electorate with the coronavirus pandemic and as much as 90 percent of the residents without power or internet after Tropical Storm Isaias hit New Canaan hard on Tuesday, Aug. 4.