Did You Vote?

Yesterday was Election Day.

In mid-afternoon, Darcy Hicks posted this on Facebook:

I just drove a neighbor who needed a ride because she got home from surgery one hour before, and she wanted to get to the polls before her anesthetic wore off.

She was determined, as an American, a Vietnam veteran, and someone who took an oath to serve this country, to vote. I was so humbled and honored to meet her, and she made me so proud to be an American. If she can do it, shaky, in pain, so can you. Exercise your right to vote!

Lisa Alter soon added this:

The lovely Westport resident I drove to the polls this morning walked with a cane and some difficulty – and she managed to get there and vote. Please, everyone: Exercise your right to vote.

Turnout here yesterday — for an election that will help determine the future of our middle schools, redistricting, affordable housing, the vitality of downtown, taxes, and much more — was about 33%.

That’s right: One of you voted. Two others did not.

That’s embarrassing.

And shameful.

Here’s my two cents: If you were eligible to vote yesterday, but found some reason not to, you forfeit your right to criticize any political decision made in town for the next 2 years.

Elections have consequences. Every vote counts.

Did we count yours?


45 responses to “Did You Vote?

  1. Matthew Mandell

    That’s damn right!!!! Thanks.

  2. Julia Felleman

    So so true- thank you for reiterating to the masses that like to complain but not take action!

  3. As a naturalized American I take my right to vote very seriously as I did not gain it by the good fortune of being born here, i had to take risk, expend real dollars and re-create my life in order to be afforded the privilege.
    Every natural born American should, in my humble opinion, have their birth certificate framed in a prominrent place in their house so that they can say a quiet prayer of graatitude every time they see it.
    To me it is inconceivable that 45% of the national voting population is part what is happening in this country but were disinterested enough not to be part of the problem or the solutiuon – imagine what could be achieved with another 100 000 000 votes in 2020…

    33% voter turnout in a town such as ours professes to be – progressive, educated, forward thinking, inclusive, is shameful. Maybe what we are is in fact spolit, entitled, believe that some level of material success is an insulator from reality and that “someone else” will do the work of running OUR town while we gripe about parking spots, garbage pails and lawn signs.

  4. Because shaming your readers is always such a nice thing to do.

    • I am not shaming all my readers. Just 2/3 of the ones who live in Westport. (Although probably not that many. Now that I think about it, my readers may be more engaged than non-readers!)

      • I have never missed an opportunity to vote, not even when I was living in Amsterdam where I voted at the American Embassy. Dan, you are 100% correct and in Australia and Brazil, voting is compulsory with consequences for not voting. Unless we adopt such a policy, we will continue to have low voter participation.

    • Non-voting is self-shaming.

      The next time I hear someone complain about government I will ask if he or she (or they) voted.

  5. I agree, Dan. Pretty awful turn-out. A disgrace.

  6. I DID vote. I put it off, waffled a little, and finally went at almost the last minute (7:51) – for exactly the reasons you name. I wanted to make sure I took the opportunity, which was hard won, to say, “This is what I think should happen where I live.”

  7. My beloved grandmother, an immigrant from Austria, taught me that voting was not a privilege, but a duty. So many people died fighting for the right to vote, and we should not throw away that right.

  8. Catherine Walker


  9. “If you were eligible to vote yesterday, but found some reason not to, you forfeit your right to criticize any political decision made in town for the next 2 years.”


  10. “If you were eligible to vote yesterday, but found some reason not to, you forfeit your right to criticize any political decision made in town for the next 2 years.”


  11. I voted w my 19 year old daughter- She pushed me! #relyingonthenextgen

  12. All I can say is “unbelievable!” How can so many just not care enough to exercise an incredible freedom and privilege? People forget that local politics are critical and no matter who you voted for…you had that freedom but choose to throw it away…embarrassing for Westport, a community that has always prided itself on well educated, thoughtful and engaged people.

  13. That was well said. Yesterday I rushed home from work, watched all the debates that were posted on our town website and read the League of Women Voters PDF about the candidates. Thank you volunteers for helping me achieve my goal of being an informed voter. Also my 83 year old mother, a former league president who is showing signs of memory loss, still remembered it was Election Day and made sure she new all she could about her NYC election!!! She would also be disheartened and yes disgusted by our low turnout! She worked long and hard in her life for our rights to vote and be informed.

    Let’s do better next November, our democracy depends on it.

  14. And, if you couldn’t be here on Election Day, Town Hall made the absentee ballot process a very easy one—so that can’t be an excuse.

    I wonder how this turnout compares with those in comparable off years.

    And I completely agree with you.

  15. Killian Higgins

    Does the percentage you quote include absentee ballots?

  16. “Voting is the expression of our commitment to ourselves, one another, this country and this world.” – Sharon Salzberg

  17. lorraine harrison

    you are very judgemental, Dan ..

  18. Carol Lupo-Simek

    It’s a disheartening to realize that so many of our citizens don’t feel compelled to go to the polls. This election affects our schools, the future of our town’s zoning and development, legislation and the overall fiscal health of our our community. We have so much to be grateful for here in Westport, but we simply can’t afford to take any of it for granted.

  19. yes

  20. Ruth Eddy Minot

    Please know for the future that CT offers curbside voting. They’ll bring it all to the car for the person.

    Sent from my iPad


  21. Richard Jaffe

    When people don’t vote, they concentrate the voting power of those special interest groups that do vote. Very scary.

  22. I can’t recall a year where I didn’t vote. It’s so important. Don’t believe it? Just look at RTM district 3 where there is currently a 1 vote difference between being elected and not being elected. One vote. One.
    Dan is right – no complaining if you don’t vote. A big thanks to all who ran, whether you prevailed or not. Your willingness to serve is what makes our town thrive.

  23. There was an election? Why wasn’t there a way to let the voters know?! SMH

    So does “Joe know” how to remove his five thousand campaign signs, or will he shirk his responsibilities? I believe it *might* be a zoning matter and regulation.

    Granted Joe’s signs that are still planted out there. I do want to note that some candidates have gone about removing their signs. I even so them being picked up yesterday afternoon (after being placed illegally on State of Connecticut property. I hope they turn themselves in to the WPD just as they would like someone arrested for removing a sign before the election.).

  24. Sadly, the low turnout is commonplace in local elections. I voted, of course!

  25. In my Westport home, while I was growing up voting was considered to be sacred. It was right up there with worshipping and education. The thing that was different then was that the right to keep your vote private was also sacred. In my house my parents stressed that to me. When you got in that voting booth it was you and you alone. No matter what you might have said when it came time you voted and didn’t have to tell anyone for whom you voted. To this day I think that my Dad was a Republican and my Mom was a Democrat. At least starting with Jack Kennedy. But they never discussed their votes. It was private. Case closed! Needless to say I voted yesterday and unlike yesteryears my husband and I discuss the issues and the candidates. But…when I get in that little voting booth I remember my parents and the right to privacy when it comes to voting. It’s precious. if only people would use their right to vote. 33% is shameful.

    • You are so right, Ellen. I know a woman in Westport whose husband was definitely a Republican, a belligerent one at that, but she finally confessed that she always voted her own conscience when she got in the voting booth. That sense of privacy has always been a source of comfort to those who have to keep their thoughts to themselves as so many wives had to do back in the day.

      • In 1997 I was running for re-election to the Westport ZBA. I gave an elderly woman one of my campaign jar openers and asked her to vote for me. She answered, “Oh, I cannot vote for you. My husband won’t let me vote for a Democrat.”

        After the election, she told me that she did vote for me. “He’ll never know, anyway.”

        PS — I did win.

  26. Robert Mitchell

    Thank you, Dan!

  27. I know and respect Lisa Alter and welcome her comment and those of most. However, I regret there were no contests in the races for the Board of Finance, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Assessment Appeals Board and several RTM Districts. As a result the only impact one could have on those races was not to vote for all seats and thus increase the relative vote count of the person or persons one favored.

  28. Janine Scotti

    One more thing, thank goodness there ARE candidates who are dedicated to give countless hours of their lives for the well-being of our town. What’s next, such apathy that their will be no candidates? Thank you to all of our volunteers in general who help bring this town to life in all its glory!

  29. Alex Wennberg

    Amen! This is the sad reality that is Westport. Entitlement, greed and conceit are the majority here.

  30. I seem to remember reading here and/or Westportnow that Westport has won awards for participation in both national and local elections. In 2008 it was 86% https://westportnow.com/index.php?/v2/comments/westport_election_results/

    But in 2018:

  31. Bobbi Essagof

    Sad times. You would think that would be enough to get people out. Baffles the mind. To the other 2/3, please get out to vote next year. Our country’s life depends on it.
    And as always, thanks Dan!

  32. Aracelli Cetina