Voter turnout for primary elections in Darien dips
DARIEN — Voter turnout was lower in Darien’s recent gubernatorial primary in comparison to a similar primary in 2010.
In 2010, there were 8,512 eligible voters with 2,399 showing up at the polls, for a 28.2 percent turnout.
In 2018, the number of eligible voters increased to 13,187; however, the amount of voters who showed up to the polls only slightly increased to 2,476.
Overall voter turnout for the gubernatorial primary was 18.8 percent turnout according to the secretary of the state’s office, a nearly 10 percent decrease from the turnout in 2010. There was no Democratic primary in Darien in 2014 to make a comparison.
This election year, Republicans showed up strong per usual in Darien.
While the number of registered Republican voters has decreased since the previous primary, the turnout was slightly higher. Voter turnout for Republicans this year was 30.55 percent, up from 30.47 percent in 2010.
In 2010, there were 6,117 members of the Republican Party eligible to vote. In comparison, only 5,692 members were registered in 2018, according to the secretary of the state’s office.
Despite still being the minority in town, Democrats’ numbers have slightly increased since the previous primary.
In the 2010 primary, there were 2,395 Democrats registered. This number increased to 2,725 in 2018, according to the secretary of state’s office.
Not only did the number of members registered increase, but so did the turnout for the party.
Voter turnout in 2010 for Democrats was around 22.34 percent, with 535 members voting in the primary. This went up to 26.83 percent in 2018 with 734 members voting.
Gary Rose, chairman of the department of government, politics and global studies at Sacred Heart University, said the Donald Trump presidency may have stimulated some of the increase in Democrats across the state.
“I don’t think the turnout has to do with Lamont or Joe Ganim,” said Rose. “It's really people getting fired up for the midterm election.”
Rose said this is not only statewide, but in other states as well as Democrats are working hard to flip the House this midterm. Wealthier members of the communities in Fairfield County may have also been turned off by Trump, he said.
“This is not the type of Republican that Trump largely appeals to,” he said. “His is largely a white, working middle class.”
Rose said there has been an increase in Democrats throughout Fairfield County, and many communities that were once largely Republican have also started to lean independent.
Unaffiliated voters were not a part of the primary, but as the state’s largest voting block, they could be the swaying factor in the midterm elections.
“I think what you’re going to see is a series of landslide elections in the midterm this year in favor of the Democrat candidates,” Rose said. “A lot of these districts, even the 4th congressional district, used to be a bastion for Republicans, but its not any longer.”