Thousands vote in Connecticut’s municipal elections Tuesday

WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — You’ve probably seen the signs around your town. Tuesday is the day voters decide who serves in hundreds of municipal offices around Connecticut.

One of the more interesting races is in Wallingford, where the second longest-serving executive in the state is facing a challenge.

Mayor William Dickinson is running for an 18th term in office. You may remember he announced he was running for re-election in June while wearing a Roman Centurion costume.

Related Content: Dressed as Roman Centurion, longtime mayor announces for 18th term

He has been Mayor of Wallingford since 1984. He ran unopposed two years ago. This year, he faces a challenge from Jared Liu, a Democrat who calls himself a fiscal conservative.

Related Content: 2017 Connecticut Voter’s Guide

Wallingford is also a town where residents take their civic duty seriously here. Maybe that is because they start coming to polls when they’re young. Liz Battisti brought her young son, Troy, to the polls with her. We asked Troy if he knew what his mother was there to do.

“To pick a president or a town representative,” Troy said.

Or, in the case of municipal election year, to pick mayors, town councils, and boards of education.

“That’s actually the most important part of the election process is the things that are local,” said Bruce Connell as he was leaving his polling place. “Local politics really shape your life where you live.”

“The issues affect taxes and town issues and things that are going to be important for the future, so if the right people don’t get in, it’s our future kids and possibly who are going to have to pay for it in the future,” said David DeBlasi after he voted.

Not everyone seems to realize that, however. Connecticut has about 2.1 million registered voters. About 770,000 of those are registered Democrats, while 453,000 are registered Republicans; and another 861,000 voters are unaffiliated. Voter turnout in Connecticut for this year’s municipal elections is expected to be fairly low, around 30 percent.

Related Content: Three-way mayoral race in West Haven heats up day before election

“It’s important,” said Wallingford resident Joe Colello. “It’s something you should do, and if you don’t vote, then you really shouldn’t complain about what’s going on in the world.”

Wallingford usually has better than average voter interest. You can tell just by all the campaign signs.

“Republican, Democrat or independent, there’s a lot of activity in town, Maryellen Connell said. “People really love Wallingford.”

They show that love by doing their civic duty. Liz Batisti wanted her son Troy to understand the importance of voting.

“Oh it’s very important, especially in the past year,” she said. “We want to turn things the right way so he can have a bright future.”

Election officials would like to see voter turnout improve this year. Make your voice heard, because the folks on all those signs, they are the ones making decisions in your town that can directly affect you.

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