Voter turnout up among town Democrats, down for Republicans

WESTPORT — Democrat turnout was up and Republican turnout down in Tuesday’s primary compared to the 2010 primary.

The presence of a dual primary and absence of an incumbent in 2010 makes that year a good benchmark upon which to compare the Aug. 14 results, Democratic Registrar of Voters Marla Cowden, said.

In 2010, 26.6 percent of town’s registered Democrats voted in the primary election while 29.3 percent of town Democrats voted in Tuesday’s election, a nearly three percent jump in turnout. On the Republican side, 32.1 percent voted in 2010 primary while 27.9 percent voted on Aug. 14, which is an over four percent decrease in turnout among town’s Registered Republicans compared to 2010.

“It sort of switched in that the Democrat turnout this year was higher than it was in 2010 and the Republican turnout was lower than it was in 2010,” Cowden said.

What accounts for the switch in voter turnout among the two groups?

“Over the years the number of Democrats in Westport has increased. This year there was also an increased interest in voting. We saw a large increase in the number of young people registered to vote,” Cowden said.

Meanwhile, the lower Republican turnout was not a result of decreased enthusiasm in the party, but rather a decrease in the number of town Republicans, Kevin White, the Westport Republica Registrar of Voters, said.

The number of registered Republicans dropped by 531 residents from 4,921 registered Republicans in 2010 to 4,390 registered Republicans this year. “About that many less voted this year. The ratio is almost the same, but percentage-wise it changed because the numerator changed,” White said.

The number of registered Democrats in town has likewise increased from 6,322 registered Democrats in 2010 to 6,849 this year, according to data from the registrar’s office.

More Information

How Westporters voted in the Aug. 14 primary:

Governor - Dem

Ned Lamont: 1,852

Joe Ganim: 111

Governor - GOP

Steve Obsitnik: 505

Bob Stefanowski: 248

David Stemerman: 212

Mark Boughton: 148

Tim Herbst: 96

Lieutenant Governor - Dem

Susan Bysiewicz: 1,417

Eva Zimmerman: 509

Lieutenant Governor - GOP

Jayme Stevenson: 410

Joe Markley: 403

Erin Stewart: 296

Town Democrats largely voted in line with their statewide counterparts in the primary, choosing Ned Lamont for governor, Susan Bysiewicz for Lieutenant Governor, Shawn Wooden for Treasurer, and William Tong for Attorney General, all with great majorities both at the local and statewide level.

However, town Republicans diverged from the majority of state Republican voters and voted overwhelmingly for hometown gubernatorial candidate Steve Obsitnik, who statewide came in last in the five-person GOP race for governor won by Republicans Bob Stefanowski.

GOP Lieutenant Governor candidate Jayme Stevenson from nearby Darien won by a margin of seven votes in Westport but came in last in the three-person race statewide that went to Joe Markley. Town Republicans did vote in line with state Republicans in the races for Treasurer and Attorney General, choosing Thad Gray and Sue Hatfield for the respective positions.

With each party’s candidates chosen, the race to the Nov. 6 elections can begin, both in Westport and across the state.; 203-842-2638; @SophieCVaughan1