Hey guys, the election! If you’re off-campus or an alum and still don’t know where to vote tomorrow, check out Find Your Fucking Polling Place. Just type in your address; it’ll tell you where the fuck you can vote and who the fuck you can vote for, including third-party presidential candidates. It’s that simple.
Voting in Middletown? Cool. Most Wesleyan students will be voting at the Senior Center across from Broad Street Books, which is conveniently only a few blocks from Usdan. Your sample ballot looks like this. If you live in La Casa, Interfaith/Light House, or Full/Writing House, you’re an exception. Your polling place is Macdonough School, where you will have the same ballot as other students, except that your state representative candidates will be different (one of them is a former Wes student), for reasons probably only Elvin Lim understands. Click here to see it. If you need a ride, there will be shuttles going to the polls every ten minutes between 8:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. from the Wyllys Avenue Usdan entrance.
I was going to fill the rest of this post with either an inane rundown of my favorite Mike Gravel-related YouTube videos or an analysis of the Wesleying election poll, which gives Giant Joint more than twice as many votes as Romney, but then Gabriela De Golia ’13 sent in this fairly extensive Guide to the Middletown Ballot for Dummies, which includes senate candidates, local elections, and Middletown ballot questions. (As a disclosure, De Golia is former Vice President of WesDems—this isn’t necessarily a purely objective overview.) Click past the jump for De Golia’s summaries.
As always, this is a crucial election, because if your guy doesn’t win, then the other guy might.
Two things Wesleyan students are probably least aware of are the “ballot questions,” which are essentially Middletown’s ballot propositions or initiatives. The first has to do with the city’s sewage system, the other with the Senior Center. After that, voters will be asked to vote for the Presidential, U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, State Senate, State House, and Registrar of Voters candidates.
For more information on the Ballot Initiatives and political candidates, scroll on.
Ballot Question #1 on the Sewage System: This is essentially an initiative to modernize the city’s sewage system, something that has been in the works for decades. The question asks voters whether or not Middletown should borrow just under $40 million dollars to “dismantle its sewage treatment plant on River Road and build a pump station and pipeline along Route 9 to send wastewater to the Mattabassett District sewer plant in Cromwell” (source here). Most city officials would say that Middletown is at a crossroads where it absolutely must renovate its sewage system, either by voting for this plan or being forced to do so very soon because of EPA regulations, which ultimately cost more. They also claim that this initiative will free up space along the river for development, which would bring in tax revenue to the city.
Ballot Question #2 on the Senior Center: This proposition is about whether or not the city should borrow up to $4.85 million dollars in order to turn a former school into the new Senior Center. “State grants and potential tax credits could reduce the cost by up to $1.5 million, and the State Bond Commission recently approved $300,000 that would pay for the relocation of the Greater Middletown Military Museum [...] to Veterans Memorial Park” (source here). This will undoubtedly increase the amount of space at the Senior Center and open it up to the larger community.
Romney and Ryan (R) vs. Obama and Biden (D) vs. Anderson and Rodriguez (I) vs. Johnson and Gray (L) (vs. Jill Stein (G)): To be honest, not sure we really need to say anything that you haven’t already heard about Obama and Ryan. However, you may be interested in some of the other candidates. Anderson and Rodriguez are the independent ticket who will show up on some state ballots, like in Connecticut. Anderson is a former Salt Lake City mayor who advocates for a large amount of progressive policies related to LGBTQ rights, immigration reform, climate protection, and more. He used to belong to the Democratic Party but switched in 2011 due to disillusionment with it (see here). Johnson and Gray are the Libertarian candidates on the ballot, with Johnson having also switched parties in the past few years. As a former Governor of New Mexico, he belonged to the Republican Party. Now, after having lost the Republican nomination, he switched to Libertarian and emphasizes a balanced budget, reduced government spending, and protection of civil rights. And last, but certainly not least, is Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate. While she doesn’t show up on the CT ballot, she is likely to be a popular write-in candidate for those who are disillusioned with the country’s two-party system.
Linda McMahon (R) vs. Chris Murphy (D) vs. Paul Passarelli (L): Don’t know much about Libertarian Passarelli, but McMahon and Murphy have been fighting a tough battle against one another these past few months. McMahon, former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, has been fairly unclear about her stances on numerous domestic policy issues—though she seems to lean Tea Party and Republican most of the time—and has spent almost $100 million dollars on her senatorial campaigns from 2010 and this year. Murphy is known as a staunchly liberal member of the House of Representatives who has moved his way up the political ladder very quickly at a relatively young age. Interesting fact: if elected to the House of Representatives, McMahon will be one of the richest Senators; Murphy will be one of the poorest (see here).
U.S. House of Representatives Candidates
Wayne Winsley (R) vs. Rosa DeLauro (D): Next to DeLauro, who is serving her 11th term as a Representative and is extremely popular both in Connecticut and across the country, Winsley has had a difficult time getting his name out there. However, he is an active member of his community, being both “a veteran broadcaster who has been heard on the radio throughout Connecticut for over twenty years” and as the President of the Danbury chapter of the NAACP (source here). DeLauro is another beacon of progressiveness in the U.S. House, having become a favorite of Planned Parenthood and an avid proponent of health care reform (among many other things). Fun facts: Winsley wrote an FBI thriller entitled The Leprechaun Deception; Rosa DeLauro is a hipster.
CT State Senate Candidates
Joe Dinunzio (R) vs. Paul Doyle (D): If you have a car, you might have seen Doyle’s huge white signs all over Middletown. Serving his third term as a CT State Senator, Doyle has almost 20 years worth of experience in state government. He was also selected as one of 40 Toll Fellows nationwide back when he was a State Representative in the 1990s for his commitment to public service and state government. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of information out there on Dinunzio, other than the fact that he is a former Rocky Hill councilman…
CT House of Representative Candidates
Callie Grippo (R) vs. Joe Serra (D): Grippo, a Board of Education candidate who was not elected last November and a member of Middletown’s Republican Town Committee, will be challenging Serra, the Democratic incumbent of 20 years. Serra is a lifelong politician who advocates mostly for senior citizens’ rights and mostly progressive legislation.
Deborah Kleckowski (R) vs. Matt Lesser (D): Kleckowski is currently a member of Middletown’s Common Council. She is a big proponent of stopping tax increases, decreasing the State Gas Tax, and reinstating other conservative economic policies. Near and dear to Wesleyan’s heart is Matt Lesser, the incumbent who has never left Wesleyan—both physically (almost), but especially metaphorically. Indeed, he is a former Wesleyan student. He is regularly back in Middletown and on campus, and has been a strong supporter of education and health care reform, along with making voting easier for Connecticut residents (especially students).
Registrar of Voters Candidates
Janice Gionfriddo (R) vs. Sandra Faraci (D): Given the disenfranchisement hooplah that happened last semester regarding Wesleyan students’ right to vote in municipal elections, the Republican registrar currently doesn’t have a high approval rating among many Wesleyan students. Faraci, on the other hand, has been an avid supporter of the student right to vote, helping to update registered students’ residential information so they don’t get disenfranchised once again.
For some partisan politics, you may be interested in checking out the Wesleyan Democrats’ recent endorsement piece regarding the ballot initiatives and candidates.