High Voter Turnout Expected for Presidential Primary

Connecticut's Secretary of the State expects a higher than expected turnout on April 26 when voters will select the Democrat and GOP nominees for president.

“Everyone was complaining that the primary was so late when here we are and it looks like we’re going to be quite relevant and we have a big uptick in voter registrations going on," Denise Merrill, Connecticut's chief elections officer, said.

In 2008, more than a half a million people voted in the presidential primary, handing victories to then Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain in the Democrat and Republican primaries, respectively.

That reflected a turnout of about 39 percent, which would be considered a high turnout this time around.

Voter turnout and party switches have each been higher than expected.

The number of unaffiliated voters who switched to Democrat is 3,315 and 1,597 went from unaffiliated to Republican, while 624 voters switched from Republicans to Democrats, and 965 switched from Democrats to Republicans.

Merrill said it's too late for existing party members to change affiliations, but those who have been unaffiliated for longer than three months can still register with a party to participate in the presidential primary. Party affiliation is required to vote.

"But, if you’re an unaffiliated voter, you’re still able to switch from one party to the other, right up until one day before the primary, actually,” she said.

Merrill also said the primary provides a good test for the state's new election management system that's supposed to provide accurate online updates of vote totals as they come in.

“It’s a good field test because it’s just the one office and it allows an opportunity to use it before the fall,” she said.

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