HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut's Democratic and Republican primaries didn't bring large crowds out to the polls but thousands of people still made sure their voices were heard.
"At the end of the day I think it was a great day in Connecticut for democracy. All of the polls were open. There were no incidents reported and about 170,000 citizens in Connecticut lined up together, voted, and it went well," said Scott Bates, Deputy Secretary of the State.
Still, turnout was a bit lower than previous years. About 15% of registered Democrats voted, and about 21% of registered Republicans.
That's down from 17% and 25% in 2021 and 35% and 23% in 2020.
In Connecticut, only people registered with a party can vote in their primaries.
"About 42% of Connecticut's voters could not vote yesterday because they are unaffiliated," Bates said.
Some are advocating for that to change, arguing it's among the reasons why we tend to see such few people show up for primary elections.
"The primaries are taxpayer-funded, private primaries where only those in the parties can vote and that excludes the largest block of voters in the state, the unaffiliated voters," said Monte Frank, chair of the Griebel Frank for CT State Central Committee.
Another factor is also when these elections are held.
"Having a primary in August in the middle of summer vacations is ludicrous. I mean if the parties really wanted to have big turnout they would change it to a time when more people would be in Connecticut and able to get to the ballot box," Frank said.
The Connecticut Citizens Action Group (CCAG) said it's hopeful the election in November will see much higher numbers, driven by issues at the top of voters' minds.
"I think turnout will be high in November, whether it be the elimination of Roe v. Wade, to the January 6th will be a motivating factor for both sides of the aisle, to more stark contrasts and candidates when it comes to policy positions and all," said Tom Swan, executive director.
CCAG plans on doing outreach efforts to encourage as many people to vote as possible.
"Voting is the cornerstone of the democracy. We believe strongly in democracy as being the best form of governance and the importance of having every vote count and everybody participate," Swan said.
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