Political leaders predict low to average voter turnout

Political leaders in Milford expect normal to low turnout at this year’s election.

Milford residents head to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 7, to vote in the municipal election, casting votes for mayor, city clerk and local boards, including the Board of Aldermen, Board of Education and Planning and Zoning Board.

There are 10,323 registered Democrats in Milford as of this week, 8,163 Republicans and 17,246 unaffiliated voters, as well as 571 in other minor parties.

Leading the ballot is Mayor Ben Blake, Democrat, running unopposed for his fourth term.

Democratic Town Committee Chairman Rich Smith predicted the lack of a challenger may mean a low voter turnout here.

“I fear the turnout may be low given Mayor Blake is unopposed, but I hope I'm wrong,” Smith said. “The contests for all the boards are critical and our city's future depends upon voters coming out to make informed decisions about who will serve on our Board of Aldermen, Board of Education and Planning and Zoning Board.”

Matt Gaynor, head of the Milford Republican Town Committee, was a little more hopeful about turnout, anticipating “normal levels,” probably around 35%.

“Just from interactions with voters it does not seem like the ‘Trump factor’ will play into turnout much,” Gaynor said.

The second top spot on the Milford ballot is city clerk. Incumbent City Clerk Joanne Rohrig, a Republican, is being challenged by Democrat Kim Rose, who is currently state representative of the 118th District.

Gaynor said he’s confident Rohrig will be reelected, while Smith puts Rose in the category with other Democrats he said have worked hard and earned victory.

Both parties no doubt want to control the local boards. Right now, the Democrats hold the majority on the Board of Aldermen, with eight Democrats and seven Republicans. The Board of Education and Planning and Zoning Board both have equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans with 5-5 splits.

“The thing to watch is the Board of Aldermen,” Gaynor said, noting that several newcomers ran aggressive campaigns against incumbents: He said a few of the Republican school board candidates “have really caught fire too.”

“With all the boards being a near 50/50 split, it is entirely possible the Republicans sweep the boards,” Gaynor said.

Smith is banking on the Democrats.

“Our team has worked harder than any ticket in my memory,” Smith said. “I have been so impressed with the quality and focus of our slate of candidates — I feel they have earned a victory.”

Polls next Tuesday will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The 1st District votes at J.F. Kennedy School and Orange Avenue School; the 2nd District at J.F. Kennedy School and Meadowside School; the 3rd District at the West Shore Recreation Center and the Margaret Egan Center; the 4th District at Foran High School; and the 5th District at Harborside Middle School.

Residents unsure of where they should vote may log on to dir.ct.gov/sots/LookUp.aspx for the information.