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Democrat Joe Biden wins Connecticut’s 7 electoral votes

Former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden defeated Republican President Donald Trump in Connecticut on Tuesday, garnering all seven of the state’s electoral votes in an election marked by high voter turnout.

Associated Press

Nov 4, 2020, 2:45 AM

Updated 1,323 days ago

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Former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden defeated Republican President Donald Trump in Connecticut on Tuesday, garnering all seven of the state’s electoral votes in an election marked by high voter turnout.
State Democrats had expected Biden to win the state, where Hillary Clinton defeated Trump in 2016 by a margin of 54.6% to 41%.
While voter turnout was large in both 2016 and 2020, this year’s election was marked by historic numbers of absentee ballots in the state. Lawmakers temporarily changed Connecticut’s strict rules for voting by absentee ballot to allow concerns about COVID-19 an acceptable reason. Roughly a quarter of the state’s 2.3 million voters had already cast their ballots before the doors opened at polling places on Tuesday morning.
“People are very interested in voting this year,” said Democratic Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, who said there were a “remarkably little” number of problems at the polls, considering the large turnout.
Nearly 70% of Connecticut’s 2.3 million registered voters had voted either in person or by absentee ballot by 6 p.m. on Tuesday, with two hours left before polls closed, Merrill said. Turnout in the 2016 presidential election in the state was about 77%. Merrill said there were which she said could surpass 80%.
Lines were long at many voting places, especially during the morning hours. In Bridgeport, the state’s largest city, people were still waiting outside one location, standing 6 feet apart, in the early evening. Merrill said as long as voters are in line by 8 p.m., they are still allowed to cast their ballots.
“If you’re in line, stay there,” she said.
Stephen Gauvin, 67, of Norwich, said he had to wait for about 20 minutes to vote for former Vice President Joe Biden for president.
“I have been so motivated for the last four years to do something about this situation,” he said. “I’ve been chomping at the bit. Twenty minutes isn’t really that bad, but it was the longest line I’ve ever seen at this polling location.”
The pandemic did not keep Mary Goncar from voting in person in Glastonbury. The 87-year-old retired bank manager said residents have been very good at wearing masks and social distancing in public places. She voted for Republicans, including President Donald Trump.
“He’s done a lot for the country, a lot more than the Republicans in the past,” she said, adding she was worried about protests by Democrats if Trump wins.
State Democrats were hoping that broad support for Biden around the state, coupled with opposition to Trump, would benefit their candidates down the ballot.
But Republicans noted there is still strong support for Trump in parts of the state.
“The hatred for Trump only brings you so far. And I think voters want to hear from their state reps and state senators on what they’re going to do for them,” said Rep. Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, who is seeking to be the next Republican leader in the state House of Representatives. He said voters still care about the affordability of living in Connecticut and the state economy, two issues he believes benefit the GOP.
Republicans have also been critical of a wide-ranging police reform bill that was passed during a special legislative session earlier this year.
Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, D-New Haven, said he believes Democrats have plenty of successes to run on, including the police bill, minimum wage increases and a new family medical leave program that begins in 2022. He said Democrats, who control the Senate, 22-14, have opportunities to pick up some seats.
“I think it’s going to be a good year for us,” he said.
All 151 seats in the Democratic-controlled General Assembly are on the ballot, although a handful of the races are uncontested. All five incumbent Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives are up for reelection.
The congressional races receiving the most attention have included those of Rep. Jahana Hayes, who is seeking a second term in the 5th Congressional District in northwestern Connecticut, and Rep. Rosa DeLauro in the 3rd District in south-central Connecticut. Her campaign ran television ads defending her record for the first time in about two decades as she seeks a 16th term.
DeLauro’s opponent, real estate executive Margaret Streicker, had raised nearly $1.4 million as of Oct. 14, $1 million of it of her own funds. Streicker has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on TV ads, many critical of DeLauro, who raised nearly $1.7 million.
Hayes, who in 2018 became the first Black woman elected to Congress to represent Connecticut, is facing a strong challenge from retired federal prosecutor David X. Sullivan. While Hayes has raised more money, Sullivan has received endorsements from police unions throughout the diverse district and also has been running TV ads.
Merrill said she expected most Connecticut towns will finish counting the votes by midnight but that larger communities are expected to take more time, considering the large number of absentee ballots. While state legislators, who agreed to make COVID-19 an allowable excuse for voting absentee this year, allowed local registrars to begin the process of opening the ballots on the Friday before the election, they weren’t allowed to begin counting them until Election Day.
“I’m hopeful that by tomorrow night we’ll know most of them,” she said. “The only real question will be those kind of close races where it makes a big difference, and there will be some of those.”
As of Monday, 636,000 absentee ballots had been filled out and returned to town and city clerks. That’s in contrast to the 129,480 absentee ballots that were received statewide in the 2016 presidential election. Voters were still allowed to submit ballots up until 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
Connecticut traditionally has a high voter participation rate. Merrill has said this year’s rate could be as high as 80%. Also, this year there are about 700,000 more new registered voters since four years ago.
By SUSAN HAIGH, Associated Press


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