Election Day 2016 Brings Up Voter Ambivalence in Connecticut

Nov 8, 2016

After months of non-stop coverage and politicking, voters got the final say on Tuesday to cap off the 2016 election. WNPR went to several cities and towns in Connecticut to talk with them on the final day of a long campaign season. 

Paul Deeley, a Democrat in Winsted, voted for Hillary Clinton. But talking to WNPR via Facebook Live after voting early this morning, he said his was also a vote against Republican nominee Donald Trump.

“It’s an unparalleled tragedy that it’s come to this,” Deeley said. “I just hope we can recover. For years, there were cranks and paranoids out there, and conspiracists, and it seems that we’ve come to notice that there was a lot more to what they were feeling than we thought in the past. You have to give them a little more credit.” Watch Deeley in the video below at 15:00 in.

Die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters faced a tough choice while voting on Tuesday: choose between Clinton or Trump, cast a write-in vote for Sanders, or vote for a third party candidate.

Speaking on WNPR's Facebook Live election coverage, Middletown resident and Sanders supporter Carmine Lavieri said he's going with Clinton. Watch him talk at about 4:30 in the video below.

“It’s super important that Donald Trump not become president,” Lavieri said. “And I think Hillary’s the best we were able to scrape together, I guess, to make that happen. And Gary Johnson and Jill Stein have both turned me off in various ways.”

First-time voter Prisca Dognon is a Yale University student from Chicago. She took advantage of Election Day Registration in New Haven at City Hall. She said she was voting both for a candidate, and also against one, and the decision wasn’t as easy as she thought.

“It was a difficult decision in that I wish I could have been more excited about my first election,” Dognon said. “But the fact that I know I was contributing to keeping certain people out of office definitely helped.”

Eric Simonelli, a student at Wesleyan University in Middletown, said he voted for Trump. He talked with WNPR on Facebook Live while wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap. Watch him in the video below at 18:00 in.

“I feel like I get a lot of backlash here in terms of, like, y’know, who I support,” Simonelli said. “I was raised to try to treat everybody with respect, with their opinions. I’ve received a lot of backlash, but also at the same time, I’ve been able to talk to people openly about it.”

Why Trump?

“I’d say immigration, economy policy, foreign policy, and just kind of the distrust in government, and kind of the corruption that’s been happening with, obviously, the Clinton campaign, and kind of her background. …He’s run a business, and he’s been very successful. I worked for him up in New Hampshire, and I just got a great feeling about him. And I don’t know, I think he has the integrity and the charisma to hold political office, and be the President of the United States.”

With over two million people registered to vote in Connecticut, Election Day 2016 could be a record year for voter turnout in Connecticut.

As of midday, with 115 towns reporting, the statewide average for turnout was 29 percent, according to Denise Merrill, the Secretary of the State.

She also said that by noon on Tuesday, about 9,000 people were registered in the state using Election Day Registration. 

This report includes information from Jeff Cohen, David DesRoches, and Lori Mack.