What's Motivating Connecticut Voters?

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Nearly 600,000 Connecticut residents have already voted and a record number of people have registered to vote, so what’s motivating them to cast their ballot? 

“Just I know as an American it’s our duty to vote and that’s mainly why I’m voting,” Tamara Mapp said.

Hartford residents Tamara Mapp and Deshawn Palmer are voting for the first time this year. 

“I’m pretty excited. It’s different, I’ve never voted and I feel like this is going to be something that probably will change the way that I see the world,” Palmer said.

“It used to be said that all politics is local. I think we’ve gotten to the point where for many people all politics is national,” UConn Political Science Professor Ron Schurin said.

Schurin said Democratic candidates in Connecticut for state House and Senate are trying to tie their Republican opponents to President Donald Trump. 

The expansion of absentee voting due to the pandemic has more than quadrupled the number of people voting that way in Connecticut compared to the last presidential election.

But not everyone believes that it will work .

Deputy Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said that’s not what he’s hearing. 

“People are splitting their ticket,” Candelora said. “They’ve overplayed the anti-Trump message.” 

House Majority Leader Matt Ritter said in 2016, the last time Trump was on the ballot, Democrats lost seats.

“So I never can say for certain what’s going to happen based on the top of the ticket or down the ticket. We obviously did really well two years ago,” Ritter said.  

In 2018, the mid-term election, Democrats were able to pick up 13 seats in the state House. Candelora doubts they will be able to do it again because voters who don’t like Trump can vote against him this time.

“In ‘18 the Democrats hit their high water mark. You know I was hearing it at the doors, I’m sorry I can’t vote for you I need to send a message and I’m not getting that in my district at all,” Candelora said.

“I think you will find more punishment down ticket this year than you did four years ago or even two years ago,” Ritter said 

Democrats currently hold 91-60 majority in the state House of Representatives. 

Schurin said Connecticut is a place where voters tend to straight ticket vote for one party. 

“Traditionally it has been the case that high turnout favors Democrats,” Schurin added. 

But there are still some undecided voters. 

“I’m waiting until tomorrow to be able to figure out what I really want to do, but I’m still looking to make sure I’ll be right with the decision that I’ve made so that I make the right decision for myself, for my family and others in my community,” Palmer said.

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