(Updated 4:30 p.m.) As expected voter turnout across the state has been high and local polling places in a handful of cities and towns are reporting problems with the optical scan voting machines, Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz said Tuesday morning.
Election officials are looking into reports of voting machine problems in Bristol, Torrington, New Haven, West Hartford, Shelton, and Simsbury, Bysiewicz said.
She said in New Haven one machine at one of 52 polling places in the Elm City malfunctioned and poll workers had to go to the backup machine. She said all 883 polling places across the state have two machines, so if one malfunctions there’s always a backup.
She said in both Simsbury and Bristol memory cards in the machines malfunctioned early on in the voting process. Bysiewicz said she doesn’t have enough information yet to draw a conclusion about what happened, however, she wondered if adequate testing had been done on those machines prior to putting them out for the public to use.
During last year’s November election rain-soaked ballots jammed a handful of voting machines. Voting officials were pleased to hear that today’s weather is expected to be mild, and there’s no rain in the forecast.
As of 10:30 a.m. voter turnout was around 30 percent in Andover, 12 percent in New Britain, 30 percent in New Haven, and 40 percent in West Hartford. As of 3:30 p.m. voter turnout was 51 percent in Andover, 73 percent in Westport, 51 percent in Windsor, and 53 percent in West Hartford. There were no updated numbers for turnout in New Britain or New Haven.
“Usually more than 50 percent of people turn out by the dinner hour,” Bysiewicz said.
Bysiewicz has predicted a 90 percent voter turnout for this historic election.
She is also predicting a recount. “It’s a rare election cycle where we don’t have a recount,” she said. An automatic recount is triggered when the vote difference is within 20 votes or 0.5 percent of the total votes cast.
Two years ago the recount in the Second Congressional District race between US Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2, and then US Rep. Rob Simmons, lasted several weeks.
Bysiewicz wanted to remind voters that if they are in line to vote by 8 p.m. tonight they will get their chance to cast their ballot.
Click here to read Paul’s report from the polls in New Haven.