More people vote in Westport, Weston

WESTPORT — More people voted in this week’s election than the 2016 presidential election, according to election numbers.

This includes not only more overall votes, but also more registered voters and a higher turnout percentage.

Westport’s turnout was 86.4 percent this election, with 17,830 of the 20,617 registered voters casting a ballot, according to the Secretary of the State website.

This was an increase from 2016 where there were 18,499 registered voters and 15,835 cast their ballot for a turnout of 85.6 percent.

Over 9,000 votes cast in this year’s election came through absentees. But even with a high number of absentee ballots cast this year, thousands of voters still came out to the polls in Westport and Weston on Tuesday.

In Westport, 7,010 residents had voted in person as of 3 p.m., according to the registrar of voters.

Vera Shanov, an election official at Saugatuck Elementary School, said there was a large morning rush with a line across the parking lot when polls opened.

“In the morning it was packed,” she said. “We had 800 voters in two hours.”

She said poll workers were able to efficiently move voters through the process with the lines tapering off towards the afternoon.

“I think everybody wanted to make sure they got in early,” Shanov said, adding there was a lot of interest in this year’s election.

Sandy Scott, a Westport resident, said she came in person to Long Lots Elementary to cast her vote to make sure it counted and that the country needs a change.

Karen Scott, her daughter, shared similar sentiments.

“Overall I’m hoping it’s an honest election,” she said.

In Weston, residents turned out early to cast their vote in person.

Mike Zegers, Democrat registrar of voters, said the sole polling location at Weston Middle School saw long lines early in the morning, but those similarly tapered off throughout the day.

“I think people just wanted to get it out the way,” Zegers said. “There were people in line at 5:15 a.m. I think we’re going to have a good turnout.”

In Weston, 2,551 residents had voted in person by 1 p.m.

Weston had a 86.7 percent voter turnout with 6,674 voters casting ballots out of the 7,697 registered voters. This is up from the 84.2 percent turnout in the 2016 election that saw 5,885 voters out of 6,988 registered voters, according to the Secretary of the State website.

This year’s election also brought out many young residents who, despite their inability to vote, wanted to stay involved. Eli Brennan and Jasper Richardson said they’ve gotten involved locally to ensure candidates have plenty of young volunteers.

Brennan, 17, of Weston, said he’s always been politically aware with a very politically active family. He said he joined the Weston young progressives, which he now is co-president of, to help ensure the youth is represented and involved in politics.

“We’re really just a progressive group of students who want to have our own voice,” he said, “because no matter who is elected, they are going to be our representative, our president, our senator even if we can’t vote.”

Jasper Richardson, 16, of Weston, and political director of Weston young progressives, said he’s had politics drilled in him his whole life. He said young people can stay politically engaged through volunteering, organizing voting drives, phone banking and more.

“Even if students can’t vote they can help other people and I think that’s really important so that every American citizen can be represented,” Richardson said.