In a presidential election year, high voter turnout is possible – it’s just not easy. Secretary of the State Denise Merrill has presented the 2012 “Democracy Cup” for the highest voter turnout percentage in the 2012 Presidential election in Connecticut to the town of Bridgewater (94.75%) and the city of Middletown (89.86%). Overall, statewide voter turnout was 74%, slightly less than the last Presidential election turnout of 78.14% in 2008, in what may have been a result of difficulties in transportation and communication due to power outages and downed tree limbs from Hurricane Sandy.
The award is given annually to the small, mid-sized, large towns and city with the highest voter turnout on Election Day. The other winners of the 2012 Democracy Cup for voter turnout are Granby (86.22%) and Stamford (71.6%).
Under Democracy Cup criteria, towns with fewer than 5,000 registered voters are considered small; municipalities with between 5,000 and 14,999 and voters are considered mid-sized, towns with 15,000 and 49,999 registered voters are considered large towns. Cities with more than 50,000 registered voters are their own category.
Each community awarded the Democracy Cup will be able to host and display a trophy through next year’s November elections. Trophy presentations were held for Middletown, Bridgewater, Stamford and Granby.
“The voters in Bridgewater, Middletown and the other communities who win the award this year really set an example for all of the voters in Connecticut of why elections and participating in democracy are important. I congratulate both Bridgewater and Middletown for doing such a wonderful job with 9 out of 10 registered voters participating in the 2012 election – it is some of the highest voter turnout in the nation!” Co-sponsored by the East Haddam Civic Association since 2000, the Democracy Cup was created as a way to encourage voter participation in each year’s elections. Merrill said Connecticut was seventh in the nation in voter turnout. Traditionally, she told the Middletown Press, Connecticut has placed 20th. “One week before a major storm, 100 of our 730 polling places were out of commission, so it took a lot of work by a lot of people to get us back online,” Merrill said.