elections

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Why do we vote the way we do? The easy answer, of course, is that we pick the politician whose values, beliefs and opinions most closely resemble our own. But while that does play a part, there are other, less obvious influences as well.

It turns out that much of why we make the voting decisions we do comes from our subconscious: biases we hold towards things like a candidate's height, weight, looks, tone of voice, and even choice of clothes. Campaigns have known this for years and, with every vote being fiercely sought, have employed a variety of tactics to make their candidate appeal to parts of our psyche we're not even aware of.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Republican legislative leaders held a press conference Thursday to call for changes in the state’s campaign finance laws, though leading Democrats said talking to them first might have been a better strategy. 

Joined by rank and file legislators, Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano and House Republican Leader Themis Klarides said state Democrats have consistently worked to undermine and erode the clean elections laws they worked to pass in 2005 after the conviction of former Governor John Rowland.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Oz Griebel runs the MetroHartford Alliance and ran for governor in 2010. Now, he's considering a run for Hartford's city council. 

"I am considering a run, but considering is the operative word," Griebel said.

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As Hartford's City Council is seeking to remove all three of its registrars because of a disastrous Election Day 2014, at least one of them -- Democrat Olga Vazquez -- is planning a strong defense.

"She does not disagree with the fact that there were some serious snafus," said Leon Rosenblatt, Vazquez's attorney. "But the registrars weren't the cause of it. And the report that was written is very one-sided and incomplete." 

Mr. Nygren / Creative Commons

There is a simple formula for restoring respect for democracy and other American institutions: just study everything that happens in Bridgeport and do the opposite.

On our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, Colin McEnroe guest-hosts with check-ins on Bridgeport, New London County, and Hartford. 

The capital city is part of a different formula: study how Hartford runs elections and do the opposite. Also, don't park in a handicap spot, especially if you're a lawmaker using your official state plates.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Following a disastrous Election Day 2014 in which voters at various city polling places were denied the right to vote, the city council is beginning the process of removing all three registrars of voters.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

An investigation into election day failures in Hartford shows that the city turned people way from the polls, lost track of 70 absentee ballots, and failed to agree on an accurate vote tally.  Now that the problem has been identified, leaders on the city council say they're working on a fix.  

Election day last November began badly in Hartford. Some residents couldn't cast their ballots because the polls weren't open, and the polls weren't open because the voter lists weren't in place. 

A report drafted by lawyers working for the city council say a bunch of factors caused the mess: the city's registrars failed to give the state important voter lists in time, failed to open polling places in time, and failed to resolve discrepancies in vote tallies after the fact.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has said he’s running for a second term in office.

Fireworks by Grucci

The Wheelhouse is back with a special New Year’s Eve edition of our weekly news roundtable. We’ll look back at the year from the rough and tumble race for governor, to the conviction of a former governor. What do you think was the biggest story of 2014?

Haiti's Prime Minster Laurent Lamothe has bowed to pressure from anti-government protesters pushing for long-delayed elections and calling for his ouster, saying he will step down.

"I am leaving the post of prime minister this evening with a feeling of accomplishment," Lamothe announced in Port-au-Prince, the capital of the impoverished Caribbean nation.

The prime minister said he leaves office after accomplishing the "remarkable work" of the government.

"We put this country on a dynamic of deep and real change for the benefit of the population," he said.

After months of acts of civil disobedience that at some points paralyzed Hong Kong, police cleared the final encampment of what's come to be known as the Umbrella Revolution.

Demonstrators had gathered on the streets of Hong Kong for two months. The protest site at Admiralty was, symbolically, the most important because it was closest to the government offices. In the end, it was also the last one standing.

After two-months' worth of pro-democracy demonstrations that at times paralyzed Hong Kong, authorities are warning that they will clear protesters from a campsite blocking a main road near government headquarters on Thursday.

The Admiralty protest site is the last bastion of a protest movement that has come to be known as the Umbrella Revolution.

Reuters reports:

Chion Wolf/Mara Lavitt / WNPR

Our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse has finally had a chance to breath after last week’s election that leaves the next four years looking a lot like the last four years in Connecticut. Our panel of reporters and analysts will close the books on the 2014 election and preview what’s to come in Governor Malloy's second term in office.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut voters rejected a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have opened the door to more early voting options. 

The question on Tuesday's ballot would have given state officials new authority to pursue changes to election laws like having multiple voting days and expanded use of absentee ballots.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Following a disastrous day in which voters across the city of Hartford were turned away from the early morning polls, there's a lot of talk about how to avoid this kind of mess in the future. 

Mara Lavitt / WNPR

Southeastern Connecticut saw some notable races in the state legislature, with one state senate seat changing hands, and another staying with the incumbent, despite the fact he's currently hospitalized. 

Mara Lavitt / WNPR

Republican Tom Foley conceded the Connecticut governor's race on Wednesday afternoon to incumbent Governor Dannel Malloy.

Republican Charlie Baker will be the next governor of Massachusetts. He beat Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley. It was a close race down to the end.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, won another four years in office, but the Republicans also recaptured the State Senate. That could lead to Washington-style gridlock on a number of issues that Cuomo pushed in the campaign.

Donkey Hotey / Creative Commons

There are so many plots and subplots emanating from yesterday.

Republicans had a good night around the country. They extended their control in the U.S. House of Representatives and took control of the U.S. Senate. It was one of the worst blows dealt to a mid-term administration since World War II,  putting President Obama in the company of Richard Nixon in 1974 and Bill Clinton in 1994.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy claimed victory in the race for governor early Wednesday morning, but only by a razor-thin margin. Without final results, the best call he could make was, "We're going to win this thing."

Republican challenger Tom Foley, reluctant to concede, gave a speech announcing that yeah, he probably lost. Also still unclear: results of the races for secretary of the state, comptroller, and treasurer. 

It appears Republican Charlie Baker will be the next governor of Massachusetts, beating Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley. Baker gave what was short of a victory speech in the early morning hours Wednesday.

Massachusetts Voters Clear Path for Springfield Resort Casino

Nov 5, 2014
Mark M. Murray / The Springfield Republican

Massachusetts ballot Question 3, which would have repealed the state’s casino law, was soundly defeated by voters Tuesday.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy hasn’t officially won re-election, but he told supporters in Hartford early on Wednesday morning that, when all of the votes are counted, he’ll be on top. 

With a loss by Sen. Mark Pryor, the first Democratic incumbent fell in the 2014 midterms, setting off a chain of events that brought the Republicans a new Senate majority. The man who would lead them in Congress, Sen. Mitch McConnell, coasted to a win in Kentucky.

McConnell was projected to defeat Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes by a 15-point margin, 56 percent to 41 percent, with almost a third of the vote tallied.

In Arkansas, Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor lost to Republican Rep. Tom Cotton, a first-term member of Congress. Pryor has served in the Senate since 2003.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Polls are closed across Connecticut. Results were estimated to take a little while as many races were tight.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney has won re-election to another term in Congress representing eastern Connecticut. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Democrat George Jepsen has been elected to a second four-year term as Connecticut's attorney general, beating a Republican who accused him of taking too many companies to court and fostering an anti-business atmosphere. 

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Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro has easily won a 13th term representing a heavily Democratic swath of southern Connecticut. 

DeLauro defeated Republican James Brown, a high school teacher from Stratford. 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Voters in Southeastern Connecticut faced a difficult dilemma in the state senate race, where the injured Andrew Maynard remained on the ballot.

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