New Darien voting booths just in time for Election Day
Darien voters may be going to the same locations to vote next month, but the voting booths will be different.
The brand-new voting booths have arrived and will make voting a more comfortable experience.
The purpose of the new booths is to provide voters with more positions in which to cast their ballots. Darien is required to have no fewer than nine voting positions per voting district and to have a minimum of one booth for disabled/special needs voters, for a total of 10 voting booths per district. As of now, registered voters in Darien total 13,013. In 2016, when there was a large surge of registered voters, the town fell under the mandated poll number by one booth per district. As this gap could widen with the high school population nearing the voting age and young families moving into town, Registrars of Voters John Visi and Susan Gray found a solution.
The new voting stations are four-station voting booths that, with just three stations, would provide 12 voting positions, which would include one position for a disabled voter, for each district. Visi said, “They will also cover any upward fluctuation in the voter rolls, while conserving poll site space with a 53% footprint reduction over our current solitary booths when set up.”
The old voting booths took up a total cubic volume per district of 352,350 when the new four-station booth only takes up 187,392.
Visi said, “Connecticut Statutes address separate poll sites for each district. Within the poll site, the regulations suggest distances of at least three or four feet between the placement of the voting tabulators and voting booths from the election official’s tables. Further, dual primaries in each district require separation of elected officials and registered parties.”
“Connecticut Best Practices discourage a setup whereby voters from two separate districts cross paths within a poll site. The setup at 35 Leroy Avenue and the Noroton Heights Fire Department were extremely challenging because of space and floor plan constraints,” Visi said.
The old voting booths were 11 years old and after more than 20 Darien elections, including referendums, primaries, and municipal, state, and presidential elections, the voting booths kept requiring frequent maintenance and would occasionally fall down during an election.
The angled four-station booth design will allow the ability to alleviate the tight quarters at both 35 Leroy Avenue and the Noroton Heights Fire House polling locations while meeting the statutory requirements.
Visi then touch upon the accessibility of the booths for everyone. “Since the voting trays o each four-station voting booth may be adjusted to accommodate voters with special needs, they will eliminate a separate setup for wheelchair and seated voting booths at all six voting locations. These booths are non-discriminatory and are consistent with the principle of ‘universal design.’”
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. To find your voting district, visit DarienCT.gov.