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Westport voices at the polls

Published 4:54 pm, Thursday, November 8, 2012
  • Voters at the Long Lots Elementary School polling station on Tuesday. Westport posted an 83 percent turnout rate in this year's election. Photo: Paul Schott / Westport News
    Voters at the Long Lots Elementary School polling station on Tuesday. Westport posted an 83 percent turnout rate in this year's election. Photo: Paul Schott

 

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The long-standing tradition of high turnout by Westport voters in presidential elections continued Tuesday. Eighty-three percent of the town's registered voters cast a ballot on Election Day, according to the Town Clerk's office. While not as high as the 86 percent rate posted during the 2008 election, Tuesday's turnout by town voters totaled at least 10 percentage points higher than the voting participation rate in Westport in any gubernatorial or town election since 1988.

Throughout Election Day, the Westport News conducted informal exit interviews at the town's four polling stations to find out voters' top issues and for whom they cast a ballot. The following is a sampling of those interviews.

VIRNA BROOKS, 51

Professor,

New York University

Voted for Barack Obama

Top issues: Health care, women's rights

On the Affordable Care Act: "Anyone who's in the industry knows that it is needed. It's actually sad -- anyone who loses their job and loses their insurance, that's it, they're done.

On Obama: "Give him time to get things where they actually should be. If not, we'd go back in the next four years and start over."

On women's rights: "There's too much to be worrying about. Let me worry about my body and you can worry about politics. I'll worry about my body and my decisions and the government can worry about its role in planning the income tax."

VINCE WAHN, 77

Retired consultant

Voted for Mitt Romney

Top issue: Economy

On Romney: "He has more business experience. And he certainly has notable experience in working with both parties.

"We need change -- no doubt about it. We need a change in the presidency and we need to vote for people in the Senate and the Congress who will be cooperative. If we have a Republican president, we need a Republican Senate and Congress."

JEFF PASS, 24

Engineer

Voted for Obama

Top issues: Health care, middle-class taxes

On Obama: "It was really just about representing the middle class in the way that I'd want to be represented. Considering what he (Obama) was dealt with, I'd give him probably a seven out of 10."

On his vote for McMahon: "I feel like she (McMahon) is going to be a better representative. Chris Murphy didn't attend a lot of the meetings from what they say, and that's kind of the point.

ELLEN MEEHAN, 55

Sales

Voted for Romney

Top issue: Economy

On the economy: "I have a friends who are unemployed and I'm concerned that all these kids coming out of college won't be able to find jobs. I'm concerned that this country won't be a power anymore economically. He (Romney) is a businessman and that's what we need in the White House.

MARCY HARDT, 67

Volunteer math tutor

Voted for Obama

Top issues: Economy, energy and women's rights

On Obama: "He believes in a woman's right to choose and equal pay and has just a general sense of understanding where women are in the 21st century.

"He [Obama] has turned it around, slowly. There's been a very obstructionist Congress. And that doesn't mean that I think Obama has done as much as I would have liked him to do, but I think it was a very clear choice.

TOM BARRECA, 48

Television executive

Voted for Obama

Top issues: Women's rights, education, health care

On Obama: "I'd give him a B/B+."

On his vote for Linda McMahon: "She's a fierce independent, despite being part of the Republican Party. I like her independent streak."

RICHARD BRASWELL, 58

Retired engineer

Voted for Romney

Top issues: Economy, defense

"I think his [Romney's] military stance is probably better, as is his economic policy, especially with China. He's against them stealing our intellectual property and, being a patent holder myself, I don't like that they steal our intellectual property."

SARAH MANNING, 35

Mother

Voted for Obama

Top issues: Women's rights, gay marriage rights, economy, the "ridiculous" deficit

"I voted for Obama, but that's a big amount of money that he spent that we don't have. I'm not thrilled."

pschott@bcnnew.com; 203-255-4561, ext. 118; twitter.com/paulschott