Connecticut Post (Sunday)

Voter registrati­ons favor Stratford Dems 2,000 to 170

- By Ethan Fry

STRATFORD — There were 3,101 more registered voters in town last November than there were at the time of the 2016 presidenti­al election.

Of that total, an increase in registered Democrats made up more than two thirds of the difference, at 67.9 percent, or 2,106 voters.

Republican­s? Just 5.4 percent — the GOP increase of only 169 more voters in

the same period was lower than the total for minor third parties.

As in most towns, unaffiliat­ed voters, at 17,067, make up a larger percentage of the 38,722 names on the voting rolls than any one party.

But Democrats noted at their monthly town committee meeting Feb. 18 that the unaffiliat­ed total grew by a much smaller number — 632 voters, per the Secretary of the State — than their own.

“The very obvious takeaway here is new voters over the last few years were predominan­tly, overwhelmi­ngly, majority Democrat,” Democratic Town Committee Chairman Steve Taccogna said.

Party leaders surmised the historic unpopulari­ty of Republican President Donald Trump drove the numbers.

Though Republican registrati­ons grew by a comparativ­ely small number, Taccogna said the GOP increase “still seems high to me, given what was going on for the last four years.”

In the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton took Stratford over Trump by 3,195 votes, 13,729 to 10,534.

In 2020, President Joe Biden more than doubled that margin, beating Trump in Stratford by 6,847 votes, 17,363 to 10,516.

Though turnout is typically much higher in presidenti­al election years, Democrats said they are optimistic their increase in voters could bode well for the party’s fortunes in this year’s elections for mayor and Town Council.

“I think the huge Democratic advantage sort of puts the wind at our back going into the council and mayor’s races this fall,” Jim Simon, elected last year as Stratford’s Democratic registrar of voters, said

Friday.

“The Republican­s have controlled the Town Council in Stratford 16 of the last 18 years,” Simon said. “I’m hopeful with these additional voters people will realize it’s time for a change.”

But Republican Registrar Lou DeCilio, who is also the Republican Town Committee chairman, said he isn’t too concerned just yet.

After noting a discrepanc­y between the numbers Simon put together in a report shared at the Democrats’ meeting and those on the Secretary of the State’s website, DeCilio said the Dems’ advantage in numbers is nothing new.

“There’s always been more Democrats than Republican­s, so it doesn’t surprise me,” he said. “The fact that we still have the mayor and the council is a testament to how the voters in Stratford, no matter their party affiliatio­n, are paying attention to what the people they elect are doing.”

DeCilio said his party will retain power in town as long as they communicat­e their message effectivel­y to voters of providing services to residents at an affordable rate.

“There’s never been a year that Democrats haven’t outnumbere­d Republican­s in the town of Stratford,” he said. “The bottom line is obviously campaigns from year to year are different. Why do we keep winning? It’s basically because of the job we do here.”

 ?? Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticu­t Media file photo ?? Voters checking in to pick up their ballots at Wooster Middle School in Stratford in 2017.
Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticu­t Media file photo Voters checking in to pick up their ballots at Wooster Middle School in Stratford in 2017.
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