Voter turnout was high this presidential election - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CAMPAIGN 2016

Voter turnout was high this presidential election

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Long lines of people in New Haven registering on Election Day. Need to be registered & in line at polling place by 8 p.m. (WFSB) Long lines of people in New Haven registering on Election Day. Need to be registered & in line at polling place by 8 p.m. (WFSB)
(AP Images) (AP Images)
A voting line stretched around the City of New Haven Hall of Records Tuesday morning. (WFSB photo) A voting line stretched around the City of New Haven Hall of Records Tuesday morning. (WFSB photo)
The line at the Edgewood School in New Haven was out of the door Tuesday morning. (WFSB photo) The line at the Edgewood School in New Haven was out of the door Tuesday morning. (WFSB photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

All eyes have been on the heated presidential race for a while, and Tuesday night the tension grew as results continued to come in.

On Tuesday night, the Associated Press reported that Democrat Hillary Clinton won Connecticut.

Voter turnout was expected to be high for the 2016 presidential election on Tuesday, according to state officials. 

Polls for Campaign 2016 officially opened at 6 a.m. Tuesday across Connecticut. Long lines were reported at a number of polling places throughout the state and were expected to continue that way until the polls close at 8 p.m.

With 118 towns reporting, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said the statewide average for turnout was 50 percent on Tuesday afternoon. However, Merrill stated that these numbers are "very preliminary and that there are more than 50 towns, including some of Connecticut’s largest cities, which have not reported turnout figures yet." 

“This election has generated a lot of excitement and passion, which is what we’re seeing at the polls. It is still too early to tell what the final turnout numbers will be, however, it does look like they may be quite high," Merrill said. 

As of around 6 p.m., the town of Canton reported that its voter turnout was at 70 percent. Somers reported 40 percent. Many locations around the country expected record voter turnout.

Some voters told Eyewitness News that they felt this was the most important election of their lives.

"I think this was very important," one voter who didn't wish to be identified said. "Especially the campaigning has been so unpleasant and I'm just glad it's over."

The largest race, of course, is the presidential one between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

Who do you think will win? Vote in our poll here.

"It's a game-changer in many ways for our country and it's been a hard fought contest but let's get out and vote," said Gov. Dannel Malloy.

"I think it's generationally important," said Jared Chase of Hartford.

For some, the decision was easy. For others, like Tracey Cooper of Hartford, it was a toss up until she filled out her ballot.

"Even though I like Hillary and understand some of the  things that she's fighting for, and even though Donald Trump, he might not convey it the way that people want to hear it, some of the things he's passionate about, I'm passionate about as well," Cooper said.

In Connecticut, voters also decided whether or not Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal will retain his seat in his race against Republican challenger Dan Carter.

Results showed Blumenthal will continue to serve another term.

The biggest concern some people had raised was day-of registration. It prompted the secretary of the state’s office to add staff and do some last minute staff training to make sure things go smoothly.  

“In many ways, this is a year of firsts," Merrill said. "It is the first presidential election in which we’ve had Election Day registration, online voter registration and the introduction of the online results reporting system. We hope that all these services will benefit the voters of Connecticut. However, we urge anyone intending to register today, please get to your Election Day registration site early."

Merrill said voters looking to register on Tuesday had to do so by 8 p.m. in order to cast a ballot in time.

On Tuesday, almost 30,000 people in the state had registered using same-day registration.

She also sought to remind registered voters to bring a form of identification with them when looking to cast a ballot. She said a driver's license would work, but so would a bank statement, utility bill, pay stub or other form of identification.

"There is a lot of information online at myvote.ct.gov," she said. "Find your polling place, look up your registration to make sure it is up-to-date and ensure you have proper identification."

Two years ago in New Haven, a number of people , many of them college students, tried registering on Election Day, many stood in line at city hall for hours and about 100 people weren’t able to vote.

Going a step further, the U.S. Justice Department sent 500 election monitors to polling places in seven cities and towns, including Hartford, Middletown, New Britain, Newington, West Hartford, East Hartford, and Farmington.

Voters told Eyewitness News why it's important for them to get out there and cast their ballots.

See Election Day photos here.

"My dad fought in [World War II]," said a man who didn't wish to be identified. "He's aberrant. He said on his death bed, Anthony, you've got to exercise your right to vote."

"I think it's very important for all of us to be part of the democracy that we enjoy and I enjoy doing it," another voter said.

If voters see any issues at the polls, or believe there has been voter fraud, they're asked to call the state run hotline 866-733-2463. They can also email elections@ct.gov.

Merrill said the hotline and email address would be monitored throughout the day.

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