WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The polls have opened for Primary Day in Connecticut. With only 16 races in the entire state, election officials are concerned turnout could be low.
One of the more interesting races is in West Haven. State Representative Louis Esposito, first elected to his seat in 1993, faces a primary challenge from Michael DiMassa, a clerk in the tax collector’s office in town hall. DiMassa is actually the one endorsed by local democratic leaders, including the Mayor. He knows that with the low turnout of an August primary, anything can happen.
“August is a tough month to get people out, who is on vacation, and listen, every single vote counts, especially in West Haven,” DiMassa said. “We see it time and time again that one or two votes literally makes the difference in races.”
Esposito is fighting for a 13th term in office. He knows low turnout elections require a personal touch.
“Well, I’ve been out there talking to people,” said Esposito. “They’re happy with what I’ve been doing. They’re saying that they’re coming out to support me and I feel confident that people are going to keep their word.”
West Haven also has a primary for democratic registrar of voters. There are 14 other elections Tuesday from Stamford to Winchester to West Hartford, including the race to replace House Speaker Brendan Sharkey of Hamden, who is retiring.
James Pascarella has held a lot of positions in Hamden, including acting Mayor. Now he’s trying for a new job: State Representative.
“I mean, we’re replacing the Speaker of the House,” said Pascarella. “That’s an enormous responsibility. That’s one reason why I’m in, because I’ve had so much experience in town.”
In this democratic primary, he faces a young challenger named Joshua Elliott. He runs his family’s grocery business, and was part of the crowd that had been enthusiastically supporting Bernie Sanders’ campaign for President.
“So my I knew that people would want to put their energies somewhere,” Elliott said. “My feeling was, once Working Families Party was behind me, and I’ve gotten the endorsements of various PACs and unions, it was the right time.”
With so few races, you might not even know if there is a primary where you live, or where you should vote. The Secretary of the State says there is a website that will answer all your questions.
“You can check your polling place, whether or not you’re registered, at one website: myvote.ct.gov and that’s pretty much all you need to know,” said Denise Merrill, (D) Secretary of the State.
— Kent Pierce (@kentpierce8) August 9, 2016
In order to vote Tuesday, you have to live in a place that has one of the 16 primaries, and you have to be registered to vote in the party that is holding the primary. 13 of them are democratic, three are republican.
If you’re not already registered to vote, or registered for a party, it’s too late for today’s election, but the general election is coming up in November and you can still register to vote in that.