With scores of potential voters summering in the Vineyard, on the Cape or some other sand-swept locale -- an annual exodus that has diminished turnout at the polls -- Connecticut continues to provide for party enrollment for the Aug. 12 primaries for state office, including governor.
Unaffiliated voters and those who are not yet registered can vote in the primary if they enroll as a Republican or Democrat by noon Monday, Aug. 11.
"Obviously, the Republican primary for governor is generating some heat," said Av Harris, a spokesman for the Secretary of the State's Office.
Republicans will choose between private equity manager-turned-diplomat Tom Foley, of Greenwich, and state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, of Fairfield, to be their gubernatorial nominee. The winner will mount a challenge in the November election against Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
In addition to the Republican primary for governor, there are three Republicans vying for the lieutenant governor nomination, a Republican primary for comptroller, and several Democratic and Republican primaries for state Senate and House.
State election officials are expecting turnout to be light. Democrats and unaffiliated voters outnumber Republicans and in the 2010 Republican primary, there was only 30 percent participation.
The gloomy turnout forecast is giving added ammunition to critics of the August primary date, chosen by the General Assembly a decade ago in response to a lawsuit over the state's election rules. Connecticut previously conducted its primaries in September.
"It's a very challenging time to campaign and conduct a primary in the dog days of August," Jerry Labriola Jr., chairman of the state GOP, said. "Most states hold primaries and settle their nominating contests in the late spring, which allows for a cooling-off period before mounting a full-fledged general election campaign."
Even Foley is tempering his expectations.
"I think August is probably not the best time because a lot of people are away and not focusing on politics," Foley said. "I think turnout this time will be lower than it was last time around."
All Darien polls will be open, but most poll locations have changed since the November election. As a result of concerns about voter access in the schools after implementing strict security measures, new polls or entrance locations are in place at five of the town's six districts.
Districts 1 and 6 will vote at the 35 Leroy Municipal Building, 35 Leroy Ave.
Districts 2 and 5 will vote at the Town Hall in the gym, 2 Renshaw Road.
District 3 will vote at the Noroton Heights Fire Department, 209 Noroton Ave.
District 4 will vote at Hindley School at the 10 Nearwater Lane entrance on the corner of Route 1.
There are new poll locations for Districts 2, 3, 5 and 6. Hindley School voters will enter the gym directly, rather than go through the school's main entrance.
Any specific questions about voting should be directed to the registrars of voters' office at Town Hall, 203-656-7316.
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