Voters headed to the polls for Election Day 2017 - WFSB 3 Connecticut


Voters headed to the polls for Election Day 2017

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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy vote at Hartford Seminary on Tuesday morning. (WFSB) Gov. Dannel P. Malloy vote at Hartford Seminary on Tuesday morning. (WFSB)
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and First Lady Cathy Malloy cast their ballots on Tuesday. (WFSB) Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and First Lady Cathy Malloy cast their ballots on Tuesday. (WFSB)

The polls have closed after a steady stream of voters were in an out of polling places all day on Tuesday.

From mayoral races to significant referendums, ballots are being cast around the state.

"I don't care what they're voting for, you've gotta vote," said Louise Chiaputti of Newington.

One issue that was reported Tuesday evening was that Litchfield ran out of ballots. The Secretary of the State's office said officials made photocopies and placed them in an auxiliary bin and hand counted them.

On Tuesday, some of the more tightly contested mayoral races included Newington, West Haven, Bristol and New Britain.

"Some town's will have particularly interesting races and you'll see a higher turnout in those towns," said Secretary of the State Denise Merrill.

Merrill told Channel 3 that traditionally when it comes to local elections, people tend not to vote. However, she said this is when local voters can really make a difference.

"There was, of course, a lot of interest in 2016 and some of that has translated into more people running for office and potentially more voters this year," Merrill said. "I see a lot more women running this year. It's really interesting. And they are enthusiastic!"

At 5 p.m., Secretary of the State spokesman Gabe Rosenburg said it had been a fairly quiet day at the polls but it really does depend on where you live.  

"These are the elections that really impact the actual people living in this city every single day," Hartford Voter Kevin Sullivan said. "The board of education impacts all our kids." 

Rosenburg told Channel 3 they haven't had to many problems at polling places on Tuesday, but there is a ballot issue in Danbury that is getting national attention.

People in Newington, East Hampton, Enfield and Middletown have some community decisions to make.

In Newington, the questions was whether or not to build a new town hall and community center.

Chiaputti told Channel 3 that she has lived in the town her whole life. She said it's important to vote.

"You think, 'oh I'm not going to vote,' and then it ends up the way you don't like it," she said. "It's your fault!

Back in 2014, a multi-million proposal to renovate the community center that is near Mill Pond Park and the Newington Town Hall was turned down.  

Now, years later, people will vote on whether or not the town should spend $28 million on a new town hall, along with a community center.

"It's your town," said Daniel Dyson of Newington. "You're voting for your town, you're voting for things you'd benefit from in your local area, and it's important to give support to whoever you're voting for."

East Hampton voters were asked if the town should spend $18 million on a new town hall. That referendum passed by 30 votes on Tuesday, according to the town manager.

The town is facing major budget cuts, but officials told Channel 3 last month that the town hall is in desperate need of a fix up.

The existing complex has been described as "cramped" and loaded with electrical and sewage problems, which Channel 3 reported on back in January.

The new facility will cost about $18.9 million, but the land is free.

Even with such a deal from the developer who will build the new complex off Route 66, for what the town manager says, is a routine 4 percent project management fee. Some voters said they were hesitant.

Town Manager Michael Maniscalco said the “build as new” complex is the best option in years.

"It’s probably about a good a deal as you can get. They talked about putting it in the center of town but there's so much pollution from the old factories down there that it would be an awful big bill to clean that up,” said Bill Field, of East Hampton.

The value of that "free" land they propose to build on is about $1 million. 

In Enfield and Middletown, the ballots include questions about renovating schools.

Enfield residents will decide whether $95 million should be appropriated to John F. Kennedy Middle School. The money would be used to expand and renovate.

In Windham, residents faced the question of whether or not the town should renovate the nearly 50-year-old high school and consolidate pre-kindergarten and the Board of Education.

Built in 1970, town leaders say Windham High School is ready for a renovation looking at a $112 million facelift.

The project will also see the early childhood center and the board of education offices move out of the Kramer building into new space at the high school.

While some voters were in favor, others said they don’t want to see their taxes go up.

To renovate like-new is estimated to cost $112 million. The state will pay $69 million while Windham taxpayers will foot the $43 million balance.

That would increase taxes 3.67 mills or $367 per $1,000 thousand of assessed property value.

"The town is divided pretty near evenly and I'm hoping the parents come out and vote yes,” said Tracy Lambert, who is on the Board of Education.

"It will mean a couple of hundred more bucks. If that's the case that's worth an education for a child I'll do that,” said Derrick McBride, of Windham.

Enrollment is at 600 at the high school and after renovations, and merging they hope to increase that to 800.

In Middletown, residents are asked if the city should spend about $87 million for the planning, design, construction and furnishing of a new middle school which would be located at the current Woodrow Wilson Middle School site.

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